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Full text of "Curious facts in the history of insects; including spiders and scorpions. A complete collection of the legends, superstitions, beliefs, and ominous signs connected with insects; together with their uses in medicine, art, and as food; and a summary of their remarkable injuries and appearances"

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CURIOUS  FACTS    ''*4^ 














J.   B.    LIPPING  OTT    &    CO. 

1 8  r,  5. 

Entered,  accordiug  to  Act  of  Congress,  in  the  year  1865,  by 

J.  B.   LIPPINCOTT    &    CO., 

In  the  Clerk's  Office  of  the  District  Court  of  the  United  States  for  the  Eastern 
District  of  Pennsylvania. 










'7  <i(i 



In  the  early  part  of  tlie  winter  of  1863-4,  having  the  free  use  of 
the  Congressional  Library  at  Washington,  I  began  the  compila- 
tion of  the  present  work.  It  was  my  prime  intent,  and  one  which 
I  have  endeavored  to  follow  most  carefully,  to  attach  some  fact, 
whatever  might  be  its  nature,  to  as  many  Insects  as  possible,  to 
increase  the  interest,  in  a  commonplace  way,  of  the  science  of 
Entomology.  I  noticed  the  pleasurable  satisfaction  I  invariably 
felt  when  I  came  accidentally  upon  any  extra-scientific  fact,  and 
how  the  association  fixed  the  particular  Insect,  to  which  it  related, 
ineffaceably  upon  my  memory.  To  collect  and  group,  then,  all 
these  facts  together,  to  remember  many  Insects  as  easily  as  one, 

was  a  natural  thought;  and  as  this  had  never  been  done,  but  to 
a  very  limited  extent,  I  undertook  it  myself. 

The  facts  contained  in  this  volume  are  supposed  to  be  purely 
historical,  or  rather  not  to  belong  to  the  natural  history  of  Insects, 
namely,  their  anatomy,  habits,  classification,  etc.  They  have  been 
collected  mostly  from  Chronicles,  Histories,  Books  of  Travels,  and 
such  like  works,  which,  at  first  view,  seem  to  be  totally  foreign  to 
Insects:  and  were  only  discovered  by  examination  of  the  indexes 
and  tables  of  contents. 

But  are  my  foicts  facts? — it  may  be  asked.  They  are  ;  but  I  do 
not  vouch  for  each  one's  containing  more  than  one  truth.  It  is  a 
fact,  or  truth  if  you  will,  that  Pliny,  Nat.  Hist.  xi.  34,  says, 
"Folke  use  to  hang  Beetles  about  the  neck  of  young  babes,  as 
present  remedies  against  many  maladies ;"  but  that  this  statement 
is  entitled  to  credit,  and  that  these  Insects,  hung  about  the  necks 
of  young  babes,  are  a  present  remedy  against  many  maladies,  are 
two  things  which  may  be  very  true  or  far  otherwise.  I  confine 
myself  to  the  fact  that  Pliny  says  so,  and  only  wish  to  be  under- 
stood in  that  sense,  unless  when  otherwise  stated. 



The  classification  of  Mr.  Westwood,  in  the  arrangement  cf  1 
orders  and  families,  I  have  followed  as  closely  as  was  possib 
except  in  one  or  two  instances:  and  where  Insects  have  comnn 
and  familiar  names,  they  have  been  given  tt)gether  with  tin 
scientific  ones. 

To  Dr.  J.  M.  Toner,  of  Washington,  for  his  suggestions  ai 
assistance  in  collecting  material,  I  tender  my  thanks ;  the  san 
also  to  N.  Bushnell,  Esq.,  and  Hon.  0.  H.  Browning,  of  Quinc 
111.,  for  the  use  of  their  several  libraries. 

I  am  much  indebted,  too,  to   Mrs.  A.  L.  Ruter   Dufour, 
Washington,  for  many  superstitions  and  two  pieces  of  poet: 
contained  in  this  volume,     I  beg  her  to  accept  my  thanks. 

Greensburg,  Penna., 
July  10th,  1865. 





UTiiORS  Quoted. 


occinellidre — Lady-birds 17 

hrysomelidie — Grold-beetles... 23 

arabidae 23 

ausidge 23 

ermestidse — Leather-beetles 24 

Liucanidge — Stag-beetles 24 

icaraba3idae — Dung-beetles 27 

f)ynastida3 — Hercviles-beetles,  etc 45 

delolonthidce — Cock-chafers 47 

yOtoniidse — Rose-chafers  49 

^uprestidee — Burn-cows 50 

lateridaj — Fire-flies,  Spring-beetles,  etc 51 

ampyridte — Glow-worms 55 

tinidoe — Death-watch,  etc 58 

jostrichidge — Typographer-beetle,  etc 61 

Dantharidffi — Blister-flies 62 

Tenebrionidae — Meal-worms 65 

lapsidte — Church-yard-beetle,  etc 65 

^urculionidae — Weevils 68 

^erauibycidae — Musk-beetles 72 

^alerucidce — Turnip-fly,  etc 74 


?orficulidge — Ear- wigs 76 


31attid9e — Cockroaches 78 

\Iantidfe — Soothsayers,  etc 82 

l^chetidge — Crickets 92 

ryllid^e — Grasshoppers 98 

Locustidse — Locusts 101 


rermitidfe— White-ants 132 

Sphcmcridgo — Day-flies 138 

Libellulidoe — Dragon-flies  138 

Vlyrmeleonidge — Ant-lions 141 




Uroceridge — Sircx 145 

Cynipidfe — Gall-flies 14c 

Foi'inicidffi — Ants 146 

Vespidae — Wasps,  Hornets 17( 

Apidse — Bees 174 


Papilionidse — Butterflies 21( 

Spbingidae — Hawk-moths 235 

Bonibicidie — Silkworm-moths 234 

ArctiidfB — Woolly-bear-moths 245 

Psychidae — Wood-carrying-moth,  etc 241  j 

Noctuidie — Antler-moth,  Cut-worm,  etc 246 

Geometridoe — Span-worms 248 

Tineidae — Clothes'-moths,  Bee-moths,  etc 248 


CicadidaB — Harvest-flies 25C 

Fulgorida3 — Lantern-flies 25S 

Aphidae — Plant-lice 257 

Coccidae — Shield-lice 25^' 


Cimicidae — Bed-bugs 26§ 

Notoncotidae — Water-boatmen 275 


Culicidae— Gnats 278' 

Tipulidas— Crane-flies 286' 

MuscidjB— Flies 287 

(Estridae— Bot-flies 302 


Pulicidae— Fleas 30^ 

Pediculidse — Lice 31 



Acaridae — Mites 32 

Phalangidae — Daddy-Long-legs 3211 

Pedipalpi — Scorpions 3211 

Araneidae — True- spiders 






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ORDER    I. 


Coccinellidae — Lady-birds. 

The  Lady-bircl,  Coccinella  septempunctata,  in  Scandi- 
navia was  dedicated  to  the  Virgin  Mary,  and  is  there  to 
this  day  called  Nyckelpiga — Our  Lady's  Key-maid/  and 
(in  Sweden,  more  particularly)  Jung-fru  Marias  Gullhona 
— the  Virgin  Mary's  Golden-hen. ^  A  like  reverence  was 
paid  to  this  beautiful  insect  in  other  countries :  in  Germany 
they  have  been  called  Frauen  or  Marien-kdfer — Lady- 
beetles  of  the  Virgin  Mary ;  and  in  France  are  now  known 
by  the  names  of  Vaches  de  Dieu — Cows  of  the  Lord,  and 
Betes  de  la  Vierge — Animals  of  the  Virgin.^  The  names 
we  know  them  by.  Lady-bird,  Lady-bug,  Lady-fly,  Lady- 
i  cow,^  Lady-clock,  Lady-couch  (a  Scottish  name),^  etc., 
1  have  reference  also  to  this  same  dedication,  or,  at  least, 

The  Lady-bird  in  Europe,  and  particularly  in  Germany, 

where  it  probably  is  the  greatest  favorite,  and  whence  most 

;  of  the  superstitions  connected  with  it  are  supposed  to  have 

originated,   is  always  connected  with  fine  weather.     At 

Vienna,  the  children  throw  it  into  the  air,  crying, — 

1  Thorpe's  Northern  Mythol.,  ii.  104.  # 

2  Jamieson'8  Scot.  Diet.  Another  designation,  in  Sweden,  is  not 
so  honoi'able,  for  it  is  that  of  Laettfaerdig  kona,  the  Wanton  Quean. — 
Ibid.  The  term  Lady-bird,  in  England,  has  been  also  applied  to  a 
prostitute. — Wright's  Provinc.  Diet. 

3  Jaeger,  Life  of  Amer.  Ins.,  p.  22. 

*  It  is  curious  to  notice  the  association  of  this  insect  with  the 
cow  in  the  English  and  French  names. 
6  Jamieson's  Scot.  Diet. 

3  (H) 


KJiferl',  k'aferl',  kiiferl', 
Flieg  nach  Mariabrifnn, 
Und  bring  uns  ii  schone  sun. 


Little  birdie,  birdie, 
Fly  to  Marybrunn, 
And  bring  us  a  fine  sun. 

Marybrun  being  a  place  about  twelve  English  miles  from 
the  Austrian  capital,  with  a  miracle-working  image  of  the 
Virgin  (still  connected  with  the  Virgin),  who  often  sends 
good  weather  to  the  merry  A^iennese.^ 

And,  from  the  marsh  of  the  Elbe,  to  this  little  insect  the 
following  words  are  addressed : 


Flug  weg, 

Stuff  weg, 
Bring  me  morgen  goet  wedder  med. 


Fly  away, 

Hasten  away, 
Bring  me  good  weather  with  you  to-morrow. 2 

In  England,  the  children  are  wont  to  be  afraid  of  injur- 
ing the  Lady-bird  lest  it  should  rain. 

With  the  Northmen  the  Lady-bird — Our  Lady's  Key- 
maid — is  believed  to  foretell  to  the  husbandman  whether  the 
year  shall  be  a  plentiful  one  or  the  contrary  ':  if  its  spots 
exceed  seven,  bread-corn  will  be  dear;  if  they  are  fewer 
than  seven,  there  will  be  an  abundant  harvest,  and  low 
prices'.^  And,  in  the  following  rhyme  from  Ploen,  this  in- 
sect is  invoked  to  bring  food : 

Marspaert  (Markpaert)  fleeg  in  Himmel ! 
Bring  my'n  Sack  voll  Kringeln,  my  een,  dy  een, 
AUe  liitten  Engeln  een. 

Marspliert,  fly  to  heaven! 
Bring  me  a  sack  full  of  biscuits,  one  for  me,  one  for  thee, 
^  For  all  the  little  angels  one.* 

In  the  north  of  Europe  it  is  thought  lucky  when  a  young 
girl  in  the  country  sees  the  Lady-bird  in  the  spring  ;    she 

^  Chambers'  Pop.  Rhijmes,  1841,  p.  170-1. 
2  Thorpe's  North.  My  thai.,  iii.  182. 
^  Ibid.,  ii.  104. 
^  Ibid.,  iii.  182. 


then  lets  it  creep  about  her  hand,  and  says  :  "  She  measures 
me  for  weddmg  gloves."  And  when  it  spreads  its  little 
wings  and  flies  away,  she  is  particular  to  notice  the  direc- 
tion it  takes,  for  thence  her  sweetheart  shall  one  day  come.^ 
The  latter  part  of  this  notion  obtains  in  England ;  and  it 
has  been  embodied  by  Gay  in  one  of  his  Pastorals,  as  fol- 
lows : 

This  Lady-fly  I  take  from  off  tlie  grass, 
Whose  spotted  back  might  scarlet  red  surpass. 
Fly,  Lady-bird,  north,  south,  or  east  or  west, 
Fly  where  the  man  is  found  that  I  love  best. 
He  leaves  my  hand,  see  to  the  west  he's  flown, 
To  call  my  true-love  from  the  faithless  town. 2 

In  Norfolk,  too,  where  this  insect  is  called  the  Bishop 
Barnabee,  the  young  girls  have  the  following  rhyme,  which 
they  continue  to  recite  to  it  placed  upon  the  palm  of  the 
hand,  till  it  takes  wing  and  flies  away  :^ 

Bishop,  Bishop  Barnabee, 
Tell  me  when  my  wedding  be  : 
If  it  be  to-morrow  day, 
Take  your  wings  and  fly  away! 
Fly  to  the  east,  fly  to  the  west, 
Fly  to  him  that  I  love  best.* 

Why  the  Lady-bird  is  called  Bishop  Barnabee,  or  Burn- 
abee,  there  is  great  difference  of  opinion.  Some  take  it  to 
be  from  St.  Barnabas,  whose  festival  falls  in  the  month  of 
June,  when  this  insect  first  appears ;  and  others  deem  it 
but  a  corruption  of  the  Bishop-that-burneth,  in  allusion  to 
its  fiery  color.^ 

The  following  metrical  jargon  is  repeated  by  the  children 
in  Scotland  to  this  insect  under  the  name  of  Lady  Lanners, 
or  Landers  :^ 

Lady,  Lady  Lanners, 

Lady,  Lady  Lanners, 

Tak'  up  your  elowk  about  your  head, 

An'  flee  awa'  to  Flanners  (Flanders). 

1  Thorpe's  North.  Mythol,  ii.  104. 

2  4th  Pastoral,  11.  83-8. 

3  It  probably  is  induced  to  fly  away  by  the  warmth  of  the  hand. 

*  Notes  and  Queries,  i.  132. 
5  Ibid.,  i.  28,  55,  73. 

*  Jamieson  supposes  this  word  to  be  derived  from  the  Teutonic 
Land-heer,  a  petty  prince. — Scot.  Diet. 


Flee  ower  firth,  and  flee  ower  fell, 
Flee  ower  pule  and  rinnan'  well. 
Flee  ower  niuir,  and  flee  ower  mead, 
Flee  ower  livan,  flee  ower  dead, 
Flee  ower  corn,  and  flee  ower  lea. 
Flee  ower  river,  flee  ower  sea, 
Flee  ye  east,  or  flee  ye  west. 
Flee  till  him  that  lo'es  nie  best. 

So  it  seems  that  also  in  Scotland,  the  Lady-bird,  which 
is  still  a  great  favorite  with  the  Scottish  peasantry,  has 
been  used  for  divining  one's  future  helpmate.  This  likewise 
appears  from  a  rhyme  from  the  north  of  Scotland,  which 
dignifies  the  insect  with  the  title  of  Dr.  Ellison  : 

Dr.  Dr.  Ellison,  wliere  will  I  be  married? 
East,  or  west,  or  south,  or  north? 
Take  ye  flight  and  fly  away. 

It  is  sometimes  also  termed  Lady  Ellison,  or  knighted 
Sir  Ellison;  while  other  Scottish  names  of  it  are  Mearns, 
Aberd,  The  King,  and  King  Galowa,  or  Calowa.  Lender 
this  last  title  of  dignity  there  is  another  Scottish  rhyme, 
which  evinces  also  the  general  use  of  this  insect  for  the 
purpose  of  divination  : 

King,  King  Calowa, 

Up  your  wings  and  flee  awa' 

Over  land,  and  over  sea ; 

Tell  me  where  my  love  can  be.* 

There  is  a  Netherlandish  tradition  that  to  see  Lady-birds 
forebodes  good  luck  ;''^  and  in  England  it  is  held  extremely 
unlucky  to  destroy  these  insects.  Persons  killing  them,  it 
is  thought,  will  infallibly,  within  the  course  of  the  year, 
break  a  bone,  or  meet  with  some  other  dreadful  misfortune.^ 

In  England,  the  children  are  accustomed  to  throw  the 
Lady-bird  into  the  air,  singing  at  the  same  time, — 

Lady -bird,  lady-bird,  fly  away  home; 
Your  house  is  on  fire,  your  children's  at  home, 
All  but  one  that  ligs  under  the  stone, — 
Ply  thee  home,  lady-bird,  ere  it  be  gone.* 

1  Jamieson's  Scot.  Did.  Cf.  Chambers'  Fop.  Rhymes,  1841,  p. 
170-1.  2-         u       ,  .    V 

2  Thorpe's  North.  Mijthol.;  iii.  328. 

3  Grose,  Antiq.  {Frov.  Gloss.)  p.  121. 

*  Chambers'  Fop.  Rhymes,  1841,  p.  170. 


Or,  as  in  Yorlrshire  and  Lancashire, — 

Lady-bird,  lady-bird,  eigli  thy  way  home; 
Thy  house  is  on  fire,  thy  children  all  roam, 
Except  little  Nan,  who  sits  in  her  pan, 
Weaving  gold  laces  as  fast  as  she  can.i 

Or,  as  most  commonly  with  us  in  America, — 

Lady-bird,  lady-bird,  fly  away  home, 

Your  house  is  on  fire,  and  your  children  all  burn. 

The  meaning  of  this  familiar,  though  very  curious  couplet, 
seems  to  be  this  :  the  larvae,  or  young,  of  the  Lady-bird 
feed  principally  upon  the  aphides,  or  plant-lice,  of  the  vines 
of  the  hop  ;  and  fire  is  the  usual  means  employed  in  destroy- 
ing the  aphides ;  so  that  in  killing  the  latter,  the  former, 
which  had  come  for  the  same  purpose,  are  likewise  destroyed. 

Lnmense  swarms  of  Lady-birds  are  sometimes  observed 
in  England,  especially  on  the  southeastern  coast.  They 
have  been  described  as  extending  in  dense  masses  for  miles, 
and  consisting  of  several  species  intermixed.^  In  1807, 
these  flights  in  Kent  and  Sussex  caused  no  small  alarm  to 
the  superstitious,  who  thought  them  the  forerunners  of  some 
direful  evil.  They  were,  however,  but  emigrants  from  the 
neighboring  hop-grounds,  where,  in  their  larva  state,  they 
had  been  feasting  upon  the  aphides.^ 

The  Lady-bird  was  formerly  considered  an  efficacious 
remedy  for  the  cohc  and  measles;*  and  it  has  been  recom- 
mended often  as  a  cure  for  the  toothache  :  being  said,  when 
one  or  two  are  mashed  and  put  into  the  hollow  tooth,  to 
immediately  relieve  the  pain.  Jaeger  says  he  has  tried 
this  application  in  two  instances  with  success.^ 

In  the  northern  part  of  South  America — the  Spanish 
Main — a  species  of  Lady-bug,  Captain  Stuart  tells  me,  is 
extensively  worn  as  jewels  and  ornaments.  He  may,  how- 
ever, refer  to  some  species  of  the  Gold-beetles — Chryso- 
melidde,  next  mentioned. 

Hurdis,  who  has  frequently,  in  his  Poems,  availed  him- 
self of  the  modern  discoveries   in  Natural  History,  has 

1  Notes  and  Queries,  iv.  53. 

2  Baird's  Cyclop,  of  Nat.  Sci. 

3  Kirby  and  Spence,  Introd.,  ii.  9. 
*  Newell's  Zool.  of  the  Poets,  p.  48. 
^  Life  of  Amer.  Ins.,  p.  21. 



drawn  the  following  accurate  and  beautifal  picture  of  the 
Ladj-bird  in  his  tragedy  of  Sir  Thomas  More  : 

Sir  John. 

What  d'ye  look  at  ? 


A  little  animal,  that  round  my  glove, 
And  up  and  down  to  every  finger's  tip. 
Has  traveled  merrily,  and  travels  still, 
Tho'  it  has  wings  to  fly  :  what  its  name  is 
With  learned  men  I  know  not;  simple  folk 
Call  it  the  Lady-bird. 

Sir  John. 

Poor  harmless  thing! 

Save  it. 


I  would  not  hurt  it  for  the  world  ; 
Its  prettiness  says.  Spare  me;  and  it  bears 
Armor  so  beautiful  upon  its  back, 
I  could  not  injure  it  to  be  a  queen: 
Look,  sir,  its  coat  is  scarlet  dropp'd  with  jet, 
Its  eyes  pure  ivory. 

Sir  John. 

Child,  I'm  not  blind 
To  objects  so  minute:   I  know  it  well; 
'Tis  the  companion  of  the  waning  year, 
And  lives  among  the  blossoms  of  the  hop; 
It  has  fine  silken  wings  enfolded  close 
Under  that  coat  of  mail. 


I  see  them,  sir. 
For  it  unfurls  them  now — 'tis  up  and  gone.^ 

Southey,  also,  in  his  lines  addressed  to  this  insect  under 
the  name  of  the  Burnie-Bee,  has  thus  elegantly  described 

A.  1,  8C.  iii. 


Back  o'er  thy  shoulders  throw  thy  ruby  shards, 
With  many  a  tiny  coal-black  freckle  deck'd ; 

My  watchful  eye  thy  loitering  saunter  guards, 
My  ready  hand  thy  footsteps  shall  protect. 

So  shall  the  fairy  train,  by  glow-worm  light, 
With  rainbow  tints  thy  folding  pennons  fret. 

Thy  scaly  breast  in  deeper  azure  dight, 

Thy  burnish'd  armor  deck'd  with  glossier  jet. ^ 

Chrysomelidae — Gold-beetles. 

In  Chili  and  Brazil,  the  ladies  form  necklaces  of  the 
golden  Chrysomelidde  and  brilhant  Diamond-beetles,  with 
which  their  countries  abound,  which  are  said  to  be  very 
beautiful. 2  The  wing-cases  of  our  common  Gilded-Dandy, 
Uumoljjus  auratus,  the  metallic  colors  of  which  are  pre- 
eminently brilliant  and  showy,  have  been  recommended  as 
ornaments  for  fancy  boxes,  and  such  like  articles.^  A 
closely  allied  species,  I  have  seen  upon  the  finest  Parisian 
artificial  flowers. 


In  some  parts  of  Africa,  a  rather  curious  benefit  is  de- 
rived from  a  large  beetle  belonging  to  this  family,  the 
Chldenius  saponarius,  for  it  is  manufactured  by  the  natives 
into  a  soap.'^ 


The  etymology  of  the  word  Fausus,  Dr.  Afzelius  im- 
agines to  be  from  the  Greek  Tzauffig,  signifying  a  pause, 
cessation,  or  rest;  for  Linnaeus,  now  (in  1796)  old  and  in- 
firm, and  sinking  under  the  weight  of  age  and  labor,  saw 

1  Quot.  with  preceding  in  Newell's  Zool.  of  the  Poets,  p.  50-2. 

2  Kirb.  and  Sp.  Introd.,  i.  317- 

3  Jaeger,  Life  of  Amer.  Ins.,  p.  61. 
*  Kirb.  and  Sp.  Introd,,  i.  310. 

2  4  DERMESTID^.  — LUC  ANID^. 

no  probability  of  continuing  any  longer  his  career  of  glory. 
He  might  therefore  be  supposed  to  say  hie  meta  lahorum, 
as  it  in  reality  proved,>  at  least  with  regard  to  insects,  for 
Pausus  was  the  last  he  ever  described.^ 

Dermestidae — Leather-beetles. 

In  one  of  the  stone  coffins  exhumed  from  the  tumuli  in 
the  links  of  Skail,  were  found  several  small  bags,  which 
seemed  to  have  been  made  of  rushes.  They  all  contained 
bones,  with  the  exception  of  one,  which  is  said  to  have  been 
full  of  beetles  belonging  to  the  genus  Dermestes.  Both  the 
bag  and  beetles  were  black  and  rotten.^ 

Four  species  of  Dermestes  were  found  in  the  head  of  one 
of  the  mummies  brought  by  Sir  J.  Gardner  Wilkinson  from 
Thebes — the  D.  vuljnnus  of  Fabricius,  and  the  pollinctus, 
roei,  and  elongatus  of  Hope.^ 

It  is  a  remarkable  coincidence  that  two  peoples  should 
bury  beetles  of  the  same  genus  with  their  dead,  and  much 
the  more  so,  when  they  differ  so  widely,  as  did  the  ancient 
Britons  and  Egyptians.  Was  it  for  the  same  reason — the 
result  of  any  communication  ? 

At  one  time  the  ravages  of  the  Dermestes  vulpinus  were 
so  great  in  the  skin- warehouses  of  London,  that  a  reward 
of  £20,000  was  offered  for  an  available  remedy.* 

Lucanidae — Stag-beetles. 

The  etymolog}^  of  the  word  Lucanus,  as  well  as  its  ap- 
plication to  a  species  of  insect,  it  is  interesting  to  notice. 
The  ancients  gave  the  name  of  Lucas,  Lucana,  to  the  ox 
and  elephant.     It  is  said  that  Pyrrhus  had  thus  named  the 

1  Shaw's  ZooL,  vi.  42. 

2  Gough's  Sepul.  Mon.,  vol.  i.  p.  xii. — These  sepulchral  tumuli,  or 
burrows,  are  of  the  remotest  antiquity,  and  continued  in  use  till  the 
twelfth  century. — Ibid. 

3  Wilkin.  And.  Egypt,  ii.  (2d  S.)  2G1 ;  and  Pettig.  Hist,  of  Mummies, 
p.  53-5. 

*  Baird's  Cyclop,  of  Nat.  Sci. 


elephant  the  first  time  that  he  saw  it,  because  this  word 
signified  ox  in  his  own  language,  and  that  he  thus  gave  it 
the  name  of  the  largest  animal  which  he  had  ever  before 
seen.  According  to  Pliny,  who  employed  the  word  Lucani, 
in  speaking  of  the  Horn-beetles,  Nigridius  was  the  first 
who  gave  the  name  to  these  insects ;  and  this  he  did,  most 
probably,  from  their  large  size,  and  the  resemblance  of  their 
mandibles  to  horns.  Dalechamp,  however,  thinks  that  the 
name  Lucanus  was  given  to  the  Horn-beetle  only  because 
this  insect  was  very  common  among  the  Lucanians,  a 
people  of  Italy.  But  it  is  probable,  after  what  has  been 
above  said,  that  the  Lucanians  themselves  were  thus  named, 

!  in  consequence  of  the  great  numbers  of  oxen  which  they 
reared.     The  common  name.  Flying-hull,  given  to  this  in- 

I  sect  in  different  languages,  corresponds  very  well  with  that 

:  given  by  Nigridius.^ 

A  popular  belief  in  Germany  is,  that  the  Stag-beetle, 
Lucanus  cervus,  carries  burning  coals  into  houses  by 
means  of  its  jaws,  and  that  it  has  thus  occasioned  many 
fearful  fires.  ^ 

In  the  New  Forest  of  England,  the  Stag-beetle  by  the 
rustics  is  called  the  DeviVs  Imp,  and  is  believed  to  be  sent 
to  do  some  evil  to  the  corn  ;  and  woe  be  to  this  unfortunate 
insect  when  met  by  these  superstitious  foresters,  for  it  is 
immediately  stoned  to  death.  A  writer,  in  the  Notes  and 
Queries,^  states  that  he  saw  one  of  these  insects  actually 
thus  destroyed. 

Professor  Bradley,  of  Cambridge,  mentions  the  following 
remarkable  instance  of   insect  strength  in  a  Stag-beetle. 

I  He  asserts  that  he  saw  the  beetle  carry  a  wand  a  foot  and 
a  half  long,  and  half  an  inch  thick,  and  even  fly  with  it  to 
the  distance  of  several  yards.*  Linnaeus  observes,  that  if 
the  elephant  was  as  strong  in  proportion  as  the  Stag-beetle, 
it  would  be  able  to  tear  up  rocks  and  level  mountains.^ 

Bingley  has  the  following  marvelous  story  of  the  sup- 
posed rapacity  of  the  Stag-beetle,  which,  it  has  been  re- 
marked, if  not  gravely  stated  by  the  reverend  editor  of  the 

1  Cuvier's  Animal  Kingd. — Ins.,  i.  530. 

2  The  Mirror,  xix.  180;   and  Saturday  Mag.,  xvi.  144. 
3N.  &  Q.,  2dS.,  ii.  83. 

4  Bradley,  Phil.  Account,  p.  184. 

5  N.  Diet,  d'llist.  Nat.,  xxii.  81. 


Animal  Biography,  as  related  to  him  by  one  of  his  own 
intimate  and  intelligent  friends,  might  haye  been  supposed 
by  the  general  reader  to  haye  been  borrowed  from  the 
Travels  of  the  yeraeious  Munchausen.  "An  intimate  and 
intelligent  friend  of  the  editor  informed  him  that  he  had 
often  found  several  heads  of  these  insects  together,  all  per- 
fectly alive,  while  the  abdomens  were  gone,  and  the  trunks 
and  heads  were  left  together.  How  this  circumstance  took 
place  he  never  could  discover  with  any  certainty.  He  sup- 
poses, however,  that  it  must  have  been  in  consequence  of 
the  severe  battles  that  sometimes  take  place  among  the 
fiercest  of  the  insect  tribes  ;  but  their  mouths  not  seeming 
formed  for  animal  food,  he  is  at  a  loss  to  guess  what  be- 
comes of  their  abdomens.  They  do  not  fly  till  most  of  the 
birds  have  retired  to  rest,  and  indeed  if  we  were  to  suppose 
that  any  of  them  devoured  them,  it  would  be  difficult  to 
say  why  the  heads  or  trunks  should  be  rejected."^ 

Moufet  says:  "When  the  head  (of  the  Stag-beetle)  is 
cut  off,  the  other  parts  of  the  body  live  long,  but  the  head 
(contrary  to  the  usual  custom  of  insects)  lives  longer.  This 
is  said  to  be  dedicated  to  the  moon,  and  the  head  and  horns 
of  it  wax  with  the  moon,  and  do  wane  with  the  moon,  but  it 
is  the  opinion  of  vain  astrologers."^ 

The  mandibles  of  the  Stag-beetle  were  formerly  employed 
in  medicine,  under  the  name  of  Horns  of  Scarabaei.  This 
remedy  was  administered  as  an  absorbent,  in  case  of  pains 
or  convulsions  supposed  to  be  produced  by  acidity  in  the 
primse  viae}  This  is  the  insect  most  probably  alluded  to 
by  Pliny,  when  he  says,  "  Folke  use  to  hang  Beetles  about 
the  neck  of  young  babes,  as  present  remedies  against  many 
maladies."*  The  Scarabaeus  cornidus  of  Schroder  (v.  345) 
is  also,  perhaps,  the  Liicanus  cei'vus.  We  learn  from  this 
gentleman  that  it  has  been  recommended  to  be  worn  as  an 
amulet  for  an  ague,  or  pains  and  contractions  of  the  ten- 
dons, if  applied  to  the  part  affected.  He  tells  us  also,  that 
if  tied  about  the  necks  of  children,  it  enables  them  to  retain 
their  urine.     An  oil,  prepared  by  infusion  of  these  insects, 

1  Nat.  Hist,  of  Ins.,  Lond.,  1838,  ii.  156. 

2  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  149.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  1006. 

3  Cuvier,  An.  King. — Ins.,  i.  533. 

4  Nat.  Hist.,  xi.  34.     Holl.  Trans.,  p.  326.  K. 


is  recommended  by  the  same  author,  in  pains  of  the  ears,  if 
dropped  into  them,^ 

The  Cossus  of  the  Greeks  and  Romans,  which,  at  the 
time  of  the  greatest  hixury  among  the  latter,  was  intro- 
duced at  the  tables  of  the  rich,  was  the  larva,  or  grub,  of  a 
large  beetle  that  lives  in  the  stems  of  trees,  particularly  the 
oak;  and  was,  most  probably,  the  larva  of  the  Stag-beetle, 
Lucanus  cervus.  On  this  subject,  however,  entomologists 
differ  very  widely,  for  it  has  been  supposed  the  larva  of  the 
Calandra  palmarum  by  Geoflfroy  and  Keferotein  ;  of  the 
Prionus  damicornis  by  Drury ;  but  of  the  Lucanus  cervus 
by  Roesel,  Scopoli,  and  most  others.  The  first  two,  being 
neither  natives  of  Italy  nor  inhabiting  the  oak,  are  out  of 
the  question.  But  the  larva  of  the  Lucanus  cervus,  and 
perhaps  also  the  Prionus  coriarius,  which  are  found  in  the 
oak  as  well  as  in  other  trees,  may  each  have  been  eaten  un- 
der this  name,  as  their  difference  could  not  be  discernible 
either  to  collectors  or  cooks.  Linnaeus,  following  the 
opinion  of  Ray,  supposed  the  caterpillar  of  the  great  Goat- 
moth  to  be  the  cossus.^ 

Pliny  tells  us  that  the  epicures,  who  looked  upon  these 
cossi  as  delicacies,  even  fed  them  with  meal,  in  order  to 
fatten  them.^ 

Our  children,  who  call  the  Stag-beetles  and  the  Passalus 
cornutus,  oxen,  are  wont  to  hitch  them  with  threads  to 
chips  and  small  sticks,  and,  for  their  amusement,  make  them 
drag  the  wood  along  as  if  they  were  oxen. 

Scarabaeidae — Dung-beetles. 

The  Coprion,  Cantharus,  and  Heliocantharus  of  the  an- 
cients were  evidently  the  Scarabaeus  (Ateuchus)  pilurarius, 
or,  as  it  is  commonly  called,  the  Tumble-dung,  or  one  nearly 
related  to  it,  for  it  is  described  as  rolling  backward  large 

1  James'  Med.  Diet.     Cf.  Brookes'  Nat.  Hist,  of  Ins.,  p.  321. 

2  Amoreiix,  p.  154.  Burmeister's  Manl.  of  Entomol.,  p.  561.  Ke- 
ferot.  Uber  den  unmittelbaren  Nutzen  der  Insekten,  Erfurt,  1829,  4to, 
p.  8-10.  Kirb.  and  Sp.  Introd.,  i.  303,  note.  Shaw's  ZooL,  vi.  28, 

3  Nat.  Hist.,  xvii.  37. 


masses  of  dung;  and  in  doing  this  it  attracted  such  general 
attention  as  to  give  rise  to  the  proverb  Gantharus  pipulam. 
From  the  name,  derived  from  a  word  signifying  an  ass,  it 
should  seem  the  Grecian  beetle  made,  or  was  supposed  to 
make,  its  pills  of  asses''  dung ;  and  this  is  confirmed  by  a 
passage  in  one  of  the  plays  of  Aristophanes,  the  Irene, 
where  a  beetle  of  this  kind  is  introduced,  on  which  one  of 
the  characters  rides  to  heaven  to  petition  Jupiter  for  peace. 
The  play  begins  with  one  domestic  desiring  another  to  feed 
the  Cantharus  with  some  bread,  and  afterward  orders  his 
companion  to  give  him  another  kind  of  bread  made  of  asses^ 
dung.^  • 

•  Illustrative  of  the  great  strength  of  the  Tumble-bug,  the 
following  anecdote  may  be  related :  Dr.  Brichell  was  sup- 
ping one  evening  in  a  planter's  house  of  North  Carolina, 
when  two  of  these  beetles  were  placed,  without  his  knowl- 
edge, under  the  candlestick.  A  few  blows  were  struck  on 
the  table,  when,  to  his  great  surprise,  the  candlestick  began 
to  move  about,  apparently  without  any  agency,  except  that 
of  a  spiritual  nature;  and  his  surprise  was  not  lessened 
when,  on  taking  one  of  them  up,  he  discovered  that  it  was 
onl}^  a  chafer  that  moved. ^ 

In  Denmark,  the  common  Dung-beetle,  Geofrupes  ster- 
corarius,  is  called  Skarnbosse  or  Tor{Thor)hist,  and  an 
augury  as  to  the  harvest  is  drawn  by  the  peasants  from 
the  mites  which  infest  it.  The  notion  is,  that  if  there  are 
many  of  these  mites  between  the  fore  feet,  there  will  be  an 
early  harvest,  but  a  late  one  if  they  abound  between  the 
hind  feet.^ 

In  Gothland,  where  Thor  was  worshiped  above  and  more 
than  the  other  gods,  the  Scarabaeus  {Geotrupes)  stercora- 
rius  was  considered  sacred  to  him,  and  bore  the  name  of 
Thorbagge — Thor's-bug.  "Relative  to  this  beetle,"  says 
Thorpe,  "a  superstition  still  exists,  which  has  been  trans- 
mitted from  father  to  son,  that  if  any  one  finds  in  his  path 
a  Thorbagge  lying  helpless  upon  its  back,  and  turns  it  on 
its  feet,  he  expiates  seven  sins ;  because  Thor  in  the  time 
of  heathenism  was  regarded  as  a  mediator  with  a  higher 

1  Kirb.  and  Sp.  Introd.,  i.  255,  note. 

2  Ins.  ArchiL,  p.  25'J, 

3  Detharding  de  Ins.  Coleop.  Danicis,  9.     Quot.  by  Kirb.  and  Sp. 
Introd.,  i.  33. 


power,  or  All-father.  On  the  introduction  of  Christianity, 
the  priests  strove  to  terrify  the  people  from  the  worship  of 
their  old  divinities,  pronouncing  both  them  and  their  adhe- 
rents to  be  evil  spirits,  and  belonging  to  hell.  On  the  poor 
Thorbagge  the  name  was  now  bestowed  of  Thordjefvul  or 
Thordyfvel — Thor-devil,  by  which  it  is  still  known  in  Sweden 
Proper.  No  one  now  thinks  of  Thor,  when  he  finds  the  help- 
less creature  lying  on  its  back,  but  the  good-natured  coun- 
tryman seldom  passes  it  without  setting  it  on  its  feet,  and 
thinking  of  his  sin's  atonement."^ 

A  common  symbol  of  the  Creator  among  the  Hindoos 
(from  whom  it  passed  into  Egypt,  and  thence  into  Scandi- 
navia, says  Bjornstjerna)  was  the  Scarabaeus  (Ateuchus) 
sacer,  commonly  called  the  Sacred-beetle  of  the  Egyptians.^ 
Of  this  insect  we  next  treat  at  length. 

Of  the  many  animals  worshiped  by  the  ancient  Egyptians, 
one  of  the  most  celebrated,  perhaps,  is  the  insect  commonly 
known  as  the  Sacred-scarab — Scarabaeus  sacer.  This  name 
was  given  it  by  Linnaeus,  but  later  writers  know  it  as  the 
Ateuchus  sacer.^  The  insect  is  found  throughout  all  Egypt, 
in  the  southern  part  of  Europe,*  in  China,  the  East  Indies, 
in  Barbary,  and  at  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope.^ 

The  Ateuchus  sacer,  however,  is  not  the  only  insect  that 
was  regarded  as  an  object  of  veneration  by  the  Egyptians ; 
but  another  species  of  the  same  genus,  lately  discovered  in 
the  Sennari  by  M.  Caillaud  de  Nantes,  appears  to  have  first 
fixed  the  attention  of  this  people,  in  consequence  of  its  more 
brilliant  colors,  and  of  the  country  in  which  it  was  found, 
which,  it  is  supposed,  was  their  first  sojourn.^  This  species, 
which  Cuvier  has  named  Ateuchus  ^gyptorum,  is  green, 
with  a  golden  tint,  while  the  first  is  black.''  The  Buprestis 
and  Gantharus,  or  Copris,  were  also  held  in  high  repute  by 
the  Egyptians,  and  used  as  synonymous  emblems  of  the 
same  deities  as  the  Scarabaeus.  This  is  further  confirmed 
by  the  fact  of  S.  Passalacqua  having  found  a  species  of 

1  Northern  Mythol.,  ii   53. 

'  Bjornstj.  Theog.  of  Hindoos,  p.  108. 

5  Oliv.  Col.  I.  3,  viii.  59.     Cuvier,  An.  King. — Ins.,  i.  452. 

4  Cuvier,  qua  supra. 

5  Donovan's  Ins.  of  China,  p.  4, 

6  Cuvier,  qua  supra. 

"^  De  Pauw's  Sacred-beetle  of  the  Egyptians  was  "the  great  golden 
Scarabee,  called  by  some  the  Cantharides." — ii.  104. 



Buprestis  embalmed  in  a  tomb  at  Thebes.^  But  the  Scara- 
bdeus,  or  Ateuchus  sacer,  is  the  beetle  most  commonly 
represented,  and  the  type  of  the  whole  class ;  and  the  one 
referred  to  in  this  article  under  the  general  name  of  Scara- 
bseiis,  unless  when  otherwise  particularly  mentioned. 

The  Scarabaeus,  according  to  the  beliefs  of  the  ancient 
Egyptians,  was  sacred  to  the  Sun  and  to  Pthah,  the  personi- 
fication of  the  creative  power  of  the  Deity ;  and  it  was 
adopted  as  an  emblem  or  symbol  of — 

1.  The  World  — According  to  P.  Valerianus,  the  Scarab 
was  symbolical  of  the  world,  on  account  of  the  globular 
form  of  its  pellets  of  dung,  and  from  an  odd  notion  that 
they  were  rolled  from  sunrise  to  sunset.^ 

2.  The  Sun. — P.  Valerianus  supposes  this  insect  to  have 
been  a  symbol  of  the  sun,  because  of  the  angular  projection 
from  its  head  resembling  rays,  and  from  the  thirty  joints  of 
the  six  tarsi  of  its  feet  answering  to  the  days  of  an  (ordi- 
nary) solar  month. ^  According  to  Plutarch,  it  was  because 
these  insects  cast  the  seed  of  generation  into  round  balls  of 
dung,  as  a  genial  nidus,  and  roll  them  backward  with  their 
feet,  while  they  themselves  look  directly  forward.  And  as 
the  sun  appears  to  proceed  in  the  heavens  in  a  course  con- 
trary to  the  signs,  thus  the  Scarabaei  turn  their  balls  toward 
the  west,  w^hile  they  themselves  continue  creeping  toward 
the  east ;  by  the  first  of  these  motions  exhibiting  the  diurnal, 
and  by  the  second  the  annual,  motion  of  the  earth  and  the 
planets.*  Porphyry  gives  the  same  reason  as  Plutarch 
why  the  beetle  was  considered,  as  he  calls  it,  "a  living 
image  of  the  sun."^     Horapollo  assigns  two  reasons  for  the 

1  Wilkinson,  And.  Egypt.,  ii.  (2d  S.)  259. 

'  Val.  Hieroglyphica,  p.  93-5. 

3  Ibid. 

*  Plut.  Of  his  and  Osiris,  p.  220.  The  translation  of  this  passage 
as  given  by  Philemon  Holland  is  as  follows:  "The  Fly  called  the 
Beetill  they  (the  Egyptians)  revei'ence,  because  they  observe  in 
them  I  wot  not  what  little  slender  Images  (like  as  in  drops  of  water 

we  see  the  resemblance  of  the  Sun)  of  the   Divine  power 

As  for  the  Beetills,  they  hold,  that  throughout  all  their  kinds  there 
is  no  female,  but  all  the  males  do  blow  or  cast  their  seed  into  a 
certain  globus  or  round  matter  in  the  form  of  balls,  which  they 
drive  from  them  and  roll  to  and  fro  contrariwise,  like  as  the  Sun, 
when  he  moveth  himself  from  the  West  to  the  East,  seemeth  to  turn 
about  the  Heaven  clean  contrary." — p.  1071,  ed.  of  1657. 

5  Quot.  by  Montfaucon,  Antiq.,  vol.  ii.,  Part  2,  p.  322. 


Scarab  being  taken  as  an  emblem  of  the  sun.  He  tells  us 
there  are  three  species  of  beetles :  one  of  which  has  the 
form  of  a  cat,  and  is  radiated;^  and  this  one  from  a  sup-' 
posed  analogy  the  Egyptians  have  dedicated  to  the  Sun, 
because,  first,  the  statue  of  the  Deity  of  Heliopolis  (City  of 
the  Sun)  has  the  form  of  a  cat  !^  In  this,  however,  Wilkin- 
son asserts,  that  Horapollo  is  wrong ;  for  the  Deity  of 
Heliopolis,  under  the  form  of  a  cat,  was  the  emblem  of  Bu- 
bastis,  and  not  of  Re,  a  type  of  the  sun  ;  and  the  presence  of 
her  statue  is  explained  by  the  custom  of  each  city  assign- 
ing to  the  Divinities  of  neighboring  places  a  conspicuous 
post  in  its  own  temples ;  and  Bubastis  was  one  of  the  prin- 
cipal contemplar  Deities  of  Heliopolis.^  The  second  reason 
of  Horapollo  is,  that  this  insect  has  thirty  fingers,  which 
correspond  to  the  thirty  days  of  a  solar  month.* 

3.  The  Moon. — The  second  of  the  three  species  of  beetles, 
described  by  Horapollo,  has,  according  to  this  writer,  two 
horns,  and  the  character  of  a  bull ;  and  it  was  consecrated 
to  the  moon ;  whence  the  Egyptians  say,  that  the  bull  in 
the  heavens  is  the  elevation  of  this  Goddess.  This  state- 
ment of  beetle  "with  two  horns"  (the  Copris  Isidis)  con- 
secrated to  the  moon,  Wilkinson  says  is  not  confirmed  by 
the  sculptures  where  it  is  never  introduced,^ 

It  is  said  the  Egyptians  believed  that  the  pellet  of  the 
Scarabaeus  remained  in  the  ground  for  a  period  of  twenty- 
eight  days.  Ma}^  not  this  have  some  connection  with  their 
choosing  the  insect  as  a  symbol  of  the  moon  which  divides 
the  year  into  months  of  twenty-eight  days  each  ;  or,  of  the 
month  itself  (of  which  we  shall  notice  it  was  also  a  symbol) 
for  the  same  reason  ?  I  have  seen,  too,  a  Scarabaeus  en- 
graved upon  a  seal,  the  joints  of  whose  tarsi  numbered  but 

Conformable  to  this  supposition,  the  following  quotation 
may  be  given  from  that  chapter  of  the  Treasvrie  of  Aun- 
cient  and  Modern  Times  devoted  to  the  "Many  meruailous 
(marvelous)  properties  in  sundrie   things;    and   to  what 

1  De  Pauw  tells  us  that  the  description  of  the  Scarabaeus  as  given 
by  Orus  Apollo  (Horapollo)  is,  that  "it  resembles  the  sparkling  luster 
of  the  eye  of  a  cat  in  the  dark."(!) — ii.  104. 

2  Horap.,  i.  10. 

»  A7ict.  Egypt.,  i.  (1st  S.)  296. 

*  Horap.,  Uierogl.,  i.  10. 

6  And.  Egypt.,  ii.  (2d  S.)  258. 


Stars  and  Planets  they  are  subjected  naturally,"  where  we 
find  mention  of  the  Scarab  as  being  subject  to  the  moon : 
"  The  Scarahe,  which  is  otherwise  commonly  called  the 
Beetle-flye,  a  little  old  Creature,  is  maruelously  subject  to 
the  Moon,  and  thereof  is  found  both  written,  and  by  experi- 
ence :  That  she  gathereth  or  little  pellets,  or  little  round 
bals,  and  therein  encloseth  her  young  Egges,  keeping  the 
Pellets  hid  in  the  ground  eight  and  twenty  dales ;  during 
which  time  the  Moone  maketh  her  course,  and  the  nine  and 
twentieth  day  shee  taketh  them  forth,  and  then  hideth  them 
againe  vnder  the  Earth.  Then,  at  such  time  as  the  Moone 
is  conioyned  with  the  Sunne,  which  wee  vsually  tearme  the 
New  Moone:  they  all  issue  forth  aliue,  and  flye  about. "^ 

4.  Mercury. — The  third  of  the  three  species  of  beetles, 
described  by  Horapollo,  has  one  horn,  and  a  peculiar  form  ; 
and  it  is  supposed,  like  the  Ibis,  to  refer  to  Mercury.^ 

5.  A  Courageous  Warrior. — As  such  they  forced  all  the 
soldiers  to  wear  rings,  upon  each  of  which  a  beetle  -was 
engraved,  i.e.  an  animal  perpetually  in  armor,  who  went 
his  rounds  in  the  night.^  Plutarch  thus  alludes  to  this  cus- 
tom :  "In  the  signet  or  seal-ring  of  their  martial  and  mili- 
tary men,  there  was  engraven  the  portraeture  of  the  great 
Fly  called  the  Beettil ;"  and  assigns  this  curious  and  ridicu- 
lous reason,  "  because  in  that  kinde  there  is  no  female,  but 
they  be  all  males."*  The  custom  is  also  mentioned  by 
Julian  ;^  and  some  Scarabs  have  been  found  perfect,  set  in 
gold,  with  the  ring  attached.®  The  Romans  adopted  this 
emblem  and  made  it  a  part  of  some  legionary  standards. 

6.  Pthah,  the  Creative  Power. — Plutarch  says,  that  in 
consequence  of  there  being  no  females  of  this  species,  but 
all  males,  they  were  considered  fit  t3^pes  of  the  creative 
power,  self-acting  and  self-sufficient.^  Some,  too,  have 
supposed  that  its  position  upon  the  female  figure  of  the 
heavens,  which  encircles  the  zodiacs,  refers  to  the  same 
singular  idea  of  its  generative  influence.^ 

1  Treasvrie,  B.  7.  c.  14,  p.  6(J2.     Printed  1G13. 

2  Horap.  Ilierog.,  i.  10. 

3  Fosbroke,  Encycl.  of  Andq.,  i.  208. 

4  Of  Isis,  S;c.     Holl.  TransL,  p.  1051. 
6  iElian,  x.  15. 

6  Wilkinson,  And.  Egypt.,  ii.  (2d  S.)  257. 

'  Of  his,  ^-c,  qua  supra. 

8  Wilkin.  And.  Egypt.,  ii.  (2d  S.)  250. 


T.  Pthali  Tore,  another  character  of  the  creative  power.^ 

8.  Pthah-Sokari-Osiris. — Of  this  pigmy  Deity  of  Mem- 
phis, it  was  adopted  as  a  distinctive  mark,  being  pkxced  on 
his  head. 2 

9.  Regeneration,  or  reproduction,  from  the  fact  of  its 
being  the  first  living  animal  observed  upon  the  subsidence 
of  the  waters  of  the  Nile.^ 

10.  Spring.^ 

11.  The  Egyptian  month  anterior  to  the  rising  of  the 
Nile,  as  it  appears  first  in  that  month. ^  It  also  may  have 
been  a  symbol  of  a  lunar  month  from  an  above-mentioned 
belief,  namely,  that  its  pellets  remain  twenty-eight  days  in 
the  ground.  It  is  sometimes  found  with  the  joints  of  its 
tarsi  numbering  but  twent3^-eight  instead  of  thirty,  hence 
the  supposition  is  that  it  was  held  as  a  symbol  of  a  lunar, 
as  well  as  a  solar,  month. 

12.  Fecundity. — Dr.  Clarke  informs  us  that  these  beetles 
are  even  yet  eaten  by  the  women  to  render  them  prolific.*^ 

13.  With  the  eyes  pierced  by  a  needle,  of  a  man  who 
died  from  fever.  ^ 

14.  Surrounded  by  roses,  of  a  voluptuary,  because  they 
thought  that  the  smell  of  that  flower  enervated,  made 
lethargic,  and  killed  the  beetle.^ 

15.  An  only  son  ;  because,  says  Fosbroke,  they  believed 
that  every  beetle  was  "  both  male  and  female.""  Was  it 
not  because  they  imagined  these  insects  were  all  males,  as 
above  stated  upon  the  authority  of  Plutarch,  and  hence  the 
analogy  in  a  family  of  an  only  son  since  it  could  be  but  of 
the  masculine  gender  ? 

The  Scarabseus  was  also  connected  with  astronomical 
subjects,  occurring  in  some  zodiacs  in  the  place  of  Cancer ; 
and  with  funereal  rites. ^° 

To  no  place  in  particular,  as  the  dog  at  Cynopohs,  the 

1  Wilkin.  AncL  Eg^jpt.,  ii.  (2d  S.)  256.  2  Ibid. 

3  Pettigrew,  Hist,  of  Mum.,  p.  220.  *  Ibid.  ^  Ibid. 

6  Travels,  ii.  306  (?). 
■^  Fosbroke,  Encycl.  of  Antiq.,  i.  208. 

8  Ibid.  Vide  Pierius'  Hieroglyph.,  p.  76-80.  Solis  operum  sinii- 
litudo  ;  Mundus;  Generatio;  Vnigenitus;  Deus  in  humano  corpore; 
Vir,  paterve;  Bellator  strenuus ;  Sol;  Luna;  Mercurius ;  Febris 
letlialis  a  sole;   Virtus  enervata  deliciis. 

9  Fosbroke,  Encycl.  of  Antiq.,  i.  208. 

10  Wilkin.  Anct.  Egypt.,  ii.  (2d  S.)  257. 



ichneumon  at  Heracleopolis,  was  the  worship  of  the  beetle 
confined  ;  but  traces  of  it  are  found  throughout  the  whole 
of  Egypt.  It  is  probable,  however,  it  received  the  greatest 
honors  at  Memphis  and  Heliopolis,  of  which  cities  Pthah 
and  the  Sun  were  the  chief  Deities.^  The  worship  is  also 
of  great  antiquity,  for  in  many  of  the  above-mentioned 
characters,  the  beetle  occurs  upon  the  royal  sepulchers  of 
Biban-el-Moluc,  which  are  said  to  be  more  ancient  than  the 
Pyramids.  2  Scaraba3i  are,  in  fact,  to  be  retraced  in  all  their 
moiiuments  and  sculptures,  and  under  divers  positions,  and 
often  depicted  of  gigantic  dimensions.  Mr.  Hamilton  tells 
us  that  in  the  most  conspicuous  part  of  the  magnificent 
temple  which  marks  the  site  of  the  ancient  Ombite  nome, 
priests  are  represented  paying  divine  honors  to  this  beetle, 
placed  upon  an  altar ;  and,  that  it  might  have  a  character 
of  more  mysterious  sanctity,  it  was  generally  figured  with 
two  mitered  heads — that  of  the  common  hawk,  and  that  of 
the  ram  with  the  horn  of  Ammon.^  It  may  be  remarked 
here,  that  the  Scarabaeus,  when  represented  with  the  head 
of  a  hawk,  or  of  a  ram,  is  meant  to  be  an  emblem  of  the 
sun  ;  and  as  such  emblem  it  is  most  commonly  found.  It 
often  occurs  in  a  boat  with  extended  wings,  holding  the 
globe  of  the  sun  in  its  claws,  or  elevated  in  the  firmament 
as  a  type  of  that  luminary  in  the  meridian.  Figures  too 
of  other  Deities  are  often  seen  praying  to  it  when  in  this 

In  the  cabinet  of  Montfaucon,  there  is  a  Scarabseus  in 
the  middle  of  a  large  stone,  with  outspread  feet ;  and  two 
men,  or  women,  who  are  perhaps  priests,  or  priestesses, 
stand  before  it  with  clasped  hands  as  if  in  adoration.^  This 
gentleman  also  has  remarked  that  on  the  Isiac  table,  there 
is  the  figure  of  a  man  in  a  sitting  posture,  who  holds  his 
hands  toward  a  beetle  which  has  the  head  of  a  man  with 
a  crescent  upon  it.®  On  this  table  there  is  another  Scarab 
with  the  head  of  Isis.^  Besides  these  Scarabaei  with  the 
heads  of  hawks,  rams,  men,  and   the  goddess  Isis,  Mr. 

1  Wilkin.  Anct.  Egypt.,  ii.  (2d  S.)  257. 

2  De  Pauw,  ii.  104. 

3  Pettig.  Hist,  of  Mum.,  p.  220. 

*  Wilkin.  Anct.  Egypt.,  ii.  (2d  S.)  256. 

6  Montf.  Antiq.,  ii.  (Pt.  II  )  322. 
^  Ibid.,  ii.  (Pt.  II.)  339. 

7  Wilkin.  Anct.  Egypt.,  ii.  (2d  S.)  259,  note. 


Hertz  has  in  his  possession  a  small  Scarabaeus  in  stone 
with  the  head  of  a  cow.^ 

The  mode  of  representing  the  Scarabaei  on  the  monu- 
ments was  frequently  very  arbitrary.  Some  are  figured 
with,  and  some  without  the  scutellum  ;  and  others  are 
I  sometimes  introduced  with  two  scutella,  one  on  either 
clypeus.  An  instance  of  this  mode  of  representation,  of 
which  no  example  is  to  be  found  in  nature,  occurs  in  a  large 
i  Scarabaeus  in  the  British  museum.^ 

Among  the  ideographics  of  the  hieroglyphic  writing,  the 
Scarabaeus  is  found  under  several  forms  :  seated  with 
closed  and  spread  wings  upon  the  head  of  a  god,  it  signi- 
fies the  name  of  a  god — a  Creator  f  and  with  the  head  and 
legs  of  a  man,  it  is  emblematic  of  the  same  creative  power, 
or  of  Pthah.  Another  emblem  of  Pthah  is  supported  by 
the  arms  of  a  man  kneeling  on  the  heavens,  and  surmounted 
by  a  winged  Scarab  supporting  a  globe  or  sun.* 

The  Scarabaeus  likewise  belongs  to  the  hieroglyphic 
signs  as  a  syllabic  phonetic ;  and  with  complement  a 
mouth,  signifies  type,  form,  and  transformation  :  flying,  to 
mount — a  phonetic  of  the  later  alphabet,  with  sound  of  H 
in  the  name  of  Pthah.  Another  phonetic  of  the  later  alpha- 
bet, belonging  to  the  xxvi.  dynasty,  of  the  time  of  Domi- 
tianus  and  Trajanus,  was  a  Scarabaeus  in  repose.^ 

The  Scarabaeus  entered  also  into  the  royal  scutcheons. 
It  first  appeared  in  the  xi.  dynasty,  and  is  found  afterward 
in  the  xii.,  xiii.,  xiv.,  xviii.,  xix.,  xx.,  xxi.,  xxii.  xxiii., 
and  XXX.  ^ 

The  most  important  monuments  of  the  great  edifice  of 
Amenophis — the  so-called  Palace  of  Luxon, — in  an  histori- 
cal sense,  are  said  to  be  four  great  Scarabaei.  They  contain 
statements  as  to  the  frontier  of  the  Egyptian  empire  under 
Amenophis  at  the  time  of  his  marriage  with  Taja.  Rosel- 
lini  has  given  copies  and  explanations  of  two  of  them.  A 
third,  now  in  the  Louvre,  states  that  the  King,  conqueror 
of  the  Lybian  Shepherds,  husband  of  Taja,  made  the  foreign 

1  Wilkin.  AncL  Egi/pt.,  ii.  (2d  S.)  259,  note. 

2  Ibid. 

8  Bunsen,  Egypt's  Place,  i.  504,  fig.  116;   i.  508,  fig.  169. 
*  AVilkin.  Ank.  Egypt,  i.  (2d  S.)  258,  fig. 

5  Bunsen,  Ibid.,  i.  572,  fig.  12;  i.  676,  tig.  9;  i.  582,  fig.  3. 

6  Bunsen,  Ibid.,  i.  617-632. 


country  of  the  Kara!  his  southern  frontier,  the  foreign  land 
of  Nharina  (Mesopotamia)  his  northern.^  The  inscription 
of  the  other  Scarabseus,  now  in  the  Vatican,  states  that  in 
the  eleventh  year  and  third  month  of  his  reign,  King  Amen- 
hept  made  a  great  tank  or  lake  to  celebrate  the  festival  of 
the  waters ;  on  w^hich  occasion  he  entered  it  in  a  barge  of 
"the  most  gracious  Disc  of  the  Sun."  This  substitution, 
by  the  King,  of  the  barge  of  the  Disc  of  the  Sun'  for  the 
usual  barge  of  Amun-Ra,  is  the ^irs^  indication  of  an  hereti- 
cal sun-worship.^ 

Such  historical  Scarabsei,  Champollion  and  Rosellini 
have  happily  compared  to  commemorative  coins ;  and,  in 
fact,  those  which  record  the  names  of  the  kings  might  per- 
haps be  considered  as  small  Egyptian  coins.^ 

Besides  being  ensculped  upon  monuments  and  tablets, 
Scarabsei,  as  images  in  baked  earth,  are  found  in  great 
numbers  with  the  mummies  of  Egypt.  These  little  figures 
also  present  an  intermingling  of  several  animal  forms;  for 
some  are  found  with  the  heads  of  men,  others  with  those 
of  dogs,  lions,  and  cats,  and  others  are  figures  entirely 
fantastical.  Father  Kirker  says,  they  were  interred  with 
the  dead  to  drive  away  evil  spirits;  and  there  is  much 
probability,  he  continues,  that  these  were  put  here  for  no 
other  purpose  than  to  protect  their  relatives.^  The  largest 
of  these  rude  images  of  Scarabaei,  thus  used  for  funereal 
purposes,  frequently  had  a  prayer,  or  legend  connected  with 
the  dead,  engraved  upon  them  ;  and  a  winged  Scarabaeus  was 
generally  placed  on  those  bodies  which  were  embalmed  ac- 
cording to  the  most  extensive  process.*  These  latter  are 
found  in  various  positions,  but  generally  upon  the  eye  and 
breast  of  the  body.^  Placed  over  the  stomach,  it  was  deemed 
a  never-failing  talisman  to  shield  the  "soul"  of  its  wearer 
against  the  terrific  genii  of  Amenthi.^ 

A  small,  closely  cut,  glazed  limestone  Scarabgeus  has 
been  found  tied  like  a  ring  by  a  twist  of  plain  cord  on  the 
fourth  finger  of  the  left  hand.  This  has  occurred  twice. 
Another  has  been  found  fastened  around  the  left  wrist.'' 

1  Bunsen's  Egypt's  Place,  iii.  142.  2  /^/c?. 

3  Quot.  by  Montf.  Antiq.,  ii.  (Pt.  II.)  323. 
*  Wilkin.  And.  Egypt.,  ii.  (2d  S.)  257. 

6  Pet  tig.  Ilist.  of  Mum.,  p.  220. 
8  Maury's  Indig.  Races,  p.  15G. 

7  Phind's  Thebes,  p.  130. 


It  has  been  remarked  before  that  the  Scarabaeus  was  con- 
nected with  astronomical  subjects.  Donovan  tells  us  that 
"when  sculptured  on  astronomical  tables,  or  on  columns,  it 
expressed  the  divine  wisdom  which  regulated  the  universe 
and  enlightened  man.  "^ 

From  another  point  of  view  we  will  look  now  upon  the 
worship  of  the  Scarabseus.  When  the  hieroglyphics  of  the 
ancient  Egyptians,  by  reason  of  their  antiquity,  became  un- 
intelligible, and,  in  consequence,  to  the  superstitious  people, 
sacred,  they  were  formed  into  circles  and  borders,  after  the 
manner  of  cordons,  and  engraved  upon  precious  stones  and 
gems,  by  way  of  amulets  and  trinkets.  It  is  thought  this 
fkshion  was  coeval  with  the  introduction  of  the  worship  of 
i  Serapis  by  the  Ptolemies.^  In  the  second  century,  that  sect 
of  the  Egyptians  called  the  Basilidians,  intermingling  the 
new-born  Christianity  with  their  heathenism,  introduced 
that  particular  kind  of  mysterious  hieroglyphics  and  figures 
called  Abraxas,  which  were  supposed  to  have  the  singular 
property  of  curing  diseases.^  These  abraxas  are  generally 
oval,  and  made  of  black  Egyptian  basalt.  They  are  some- 
times covered  with  letters  and  characters,  fac-similes  of  the 
ancient  hieroglyphics,  but  more  commonly  with  the  inscrip- 
tions in  the  more  modern  letters.  Besides  these  inscriptions, 
figures  of  animals  and  scenes  were  also  frequently  repre- 
sented ;  and  among  the  animals,  one  of  frequent  occurrence 
was  the  Scarabagus.  For  this  insect  the  Basilidians  had  the 
same  great  veneration  as  their  forefathers  ;  and  they  paid 
to  it  almost  the  same  divine  honors.  This  appears  in  many 
abraxas,  and  particularly  in  one  in  the  cabinet  of  Mont- 
faucon,  where  two  women  are  seen  standing  before  a  beetle, 
with  uplifted  hands,  as  if  supplicating  it  to  grant  them  some 
favor.  Above  is  a  large  star,  or,  more  probably,  the  sun, 
of  which  the  beetle  was  the  well-known  symbol.*  On  an- 
other abraxas,  figured  by  Montfaucon,  there  are  two  birds 
with  human  heads,  which  stand  before  a  Scarab.  These 
figures  are  surrounded  by  a  snake  the  ends  of  which  meet. 
Upon  the  other  side  is  written  in  Greek  characters  the  word 
(fpTj  (Phre  or  Phri),  which  in  the  Coptic  or  Egyptian  lan- 
guage signifies  the  sun.^     Chifflet  has  figured  an  abraxas 

1  Donovan,  Ins.  of  China,  p.  3. 

2  Fosbroke,  Encyclop.  of  Antiq.,  i.  208.  3  jn^^ 
4  Montf.  Antiq.,  ii.  (Pt!  II.)  339.                              5  Ibid. 


which  contains  a  Scarabseus  having  the  sun  for  its  head, 
and  the  arms  of  a  man  for  legs.^  Another,  in  the  cabinet 
of  M.  Capello,  is  remarkable  for  having  a  woman  on  its  re- 
verse, who  holds  two  infants  in  her  arms.^  Montfaucon  has 
also  figured  two  others,  given  by  Fabreti;  and  Count  Cay- 
lus  has  engraved  one,  which  represents  a  woman's  head 
upon  the  body  of  a  Scarab.  The  head  is  that  of  Isis.^  As 
these  beetles  differ  much  in  form,  it  may  be  there  are  sev- 
eral species.  To  the  abraxas  succeeded  the  talismans, 
which  were  of  the  highest  estimation  in  the  East. 

Carved  Scarabaei  of  all  sizes  and  qualities  are  quite  com- 
mon in  the  cabinets  of  Europe.  They  were  principally  used 
for  sets  in  rings,  necklaces,  and  other  ornamental  trinkets,  and 
are  now  called  Scarabaei  gems,*  though  some  suppose  them 
to  have  been  money.  All  of  these  gems,  Winkleman  says, 
which  have  a  beetle  on  the  convex  side,  and  an  Egyptian 

1  Montf.  Antig.,  ii.  (P.t  II.)  339.  2  /jjV/. 

3  Fosbroke,  Encycl.  of  Antiq.,  i.  208. 

*  There  is  now  at  Thebes  an  arch-forger  of  Scarabaei — a  certain 
Ali  Gamooni,  whose  endeavors,  in  the  manufacture  of  these  much- 
sought-after  relics,  have  been  crowned  with  the  greatest  success. 
For  the  coarser  description  of  these,  he  has,  as  well  as  chance  Eu- 
ropean purchasers,  an  outlet  in  a  native  market;  for  they  are  bought 
from  him  to  be  carried  up  the  river  into  Nubia,  where  they  are 
favorite  amulets  and  ornaments,  as  mothers  greatly  delight  to  patch 
one  or  two  to  the  girdles  by  short  thongs,  wliich  constitute  the  only 
article  of  dress  of  their  children.  Through  this  very  medium,  too, 
it  sometimes  happens  that  these  spurious  Scarabaei  come  into  the 
possession  of  unsophisticated  travelers,  who  are  not  likely  to  sus- 
pect their  origin  in  that  remote  country,  and  under  such  circum- 

Scarabaei  also  of  the  more  elegant  and  well-finished  descrip- 
tions are  not  beyond  the  range  of  this  curious  counterfeiter.  These 
he  makes  of  the  same  material  as  the  ancients  themselves  used, — 
a  close-grained,  easily-cut  limestone,  which,  after  it  is  graven  into 
shape  and  lettered,  receives  a  greenish  glaze  by  being  baked  on  a 
shovel  with  brass  filings. 

Ali,  not  content  with  closely  imitating,  has  even  aspired  to  the 
creative;  so  antiquarians  must  be  on  their  guard  lest  they  waste 
their  time  and  learning  on  antiquities  of  a  very  modern  date. — 
Vide  Rhind"s  Thebes,  p.  253— 5.  Mr.  Gliddon,  in  an  incidental 
note,  Indig.  Races,  p.  192,  takes  credit  for  having  furnished  this 
same  Ali,  some  twenty-four  years  ago  (as  it  woald  appear),  with 
broken  penknives  and  other  appliances  to  aid  his  already-manifested 
talent,  in  the  somewhat  fantastic  hope  of  flooding  the  local  market 
with  such  curiosities,  and  so  saving  the  monuments  from  being  laid 
under  contribution! 


deity  on  the  concave,  are  of  a  date  posterior  to  the  Ptole- 
mies ;  and,  moreover,  all  the  ordinary  gems,  which  repre- 
sent the  figures  or  heads  of  Serapis,  or  Anubis,  are  of  the 
Roman  era.^  According  to  C.  Caylus,  the  Egyptians  used 
these  gems  for  amulets,  and  made  them  of  all  substances 
except  metal.  They  preferred,  however,  those  of  pottery, 
covered  with  green  and  black  enamel.  Cylinders,  scpares, 
and  pyramids  were  first  used  ;  then  came  the  Scarabsei, 
which  were  the  last  forms.  They  now  began  to  have  the 
appearance  of  seals  or  stamps,  and  many  believe  them  to 
have  been  such.  The  body  of  the  beetle  being  a  convenient 
hold  for  the  hand,  and  the  base  a  place  of  safety  and  facility 
to  engrave  whatsoever  was  wished  to  be  stamped  or  printed. 
Many  of  these  characters  are  as  yet  uninteUigible.  These 
seals  are  made  of  the  most  durable  stones,  and  their  convex 
pi*'t  commonly  worked  without  much  art. 

The  Egyptian  form  of  the  Scarabasus,  which  somewhat 
resembled  a  half- walnut,  the  Etruscans  adopted  in  the 
manufacture  of  their  gems.  These  scarcely  exceed  the 
natural  size  of  the  Scarabaeus  which  they  have  on  the  con- 
vex side.  They  have  also  a  hole  drilled  through  them 
lengthwise,  for  suspension  from  the  neck,  or  annexation  to 
some  other  part  of  the  person.  They  are  generall}^  corne- 
lians. Some  are  of  a  style  very  ancient,  and  of  extremely 
precious  work,  although  in  the  Etruscan  manner,  which  is 
correctness  of  design  in  the  figures,  and  hardness  in  the 
turn  of  the  muscles. 

The  Greeks  also  made  use  of  the  Scarabgeus  in  their 
gems  ;  but  in  the  end  they  suppressed  the  insect,  and  pre- 
served ^lone  the  oval  form  which  the  base  presented,  for 
the  body  of  the  sculpture.  They  also  mounted  them  in 
their  rings. ^ 

Several  Egyptian  Scarabsei  were  among^  the  relics  dis- 
covered by  Layard  at  Arban  on  the  banks  of  the  Khabour  ; 
and  similar  objects  have  been  brought  from  Nimroud,  and 
various  other  ruins  in  Assyria.'' 

1  Winkleman,  Art.  2,  c.  1. 

2  Pai-aph.  from  Fosbroke's  Encycl.  of  Antiq.,  i.  208. 

3  Of  those  deposited  in  the  British  Museum,  Mr.  Birch  has  made 
the  following  report : 

1.  A  Scarabasus  having  on  the  base  Ra-men-Chepr,  a  prenomeu  of 


Layard  has  figured  a  bronze  cup,  and  two  bronze  cubes, 
found  among  the  ruins  of  Nimroud,  on  which  occur  as 

Thothmes  III.     Beneath  is  a  Scarab  between  two  feathers,  placed 
on  the  basket  stib. 

2.  A  Scarabseus  in  dark  steaschist,  with  the  figure  of  the  sphinx 
(the  sun),  and  an  emblem  between  the  fore  paws  of  the  monster. 
The  sphinx  constantly  appears  on  the  Scarabaei  of  Thothmes  III., 
and  it  is  probably  to  this  monarch  that  the  one  here  described  be- 
longs. (On  many  Scarabaei  in  the  British  Museum,  and  on  those 
figured  by  Klaproth  from  the  Palin  Collection,  in  Leeman's  Monu- 
ments, and  in  the  "Description  de  TEgypt,"  Thothmes  is  repre- 
sented as  a  sphinx  treading  foreign  prisoners  under  him. — Layard..) 
After  the  Sphinx  on  this  Scarab  are  the  titles  of  the  king,  "The 
sun-placer  of  creation,"  of  Thothmes  III. 

3.  Small  Scarabaeus  of  white  steaschist,  with  a  brownish  hue ; 
reads  N'eter  nefer  nebta  Ra-neb-ma,  "  The  good  God,  the  Lord  of  the 
Earth,  the  Sun,  the  Lord  of  truth,  rising  in  all  lands."  This  is 
Amenophis  III.,  one  of  the  last  kings  of  the  xviii.  dynasty,  who 
flourished  about  the  fifteenth  century  b.  c. 

4.  Scarabseus  in  white  steaschist,  with  an  abridged  form  of  the 
prenomen  of  Thothmes  III.,  Ra-men-cheper  at  en  Amen,  "The  sun- 
placer  of  creation,  the  type  of  Ammon."  This  monarch  was  the 
greatest  monarch  of  the  xviii.  dynasty,  and  conquered  Naharaina 
and  the  Saenkar,  besides  receiving  tribute  from  Babel  or  Babylon 
and  Assyria. 

5.  Scarabreus  in  pale  white  steaschist,  with  three  emblems  that 
cannot  well  be  explained.  They  are  the  sun's  disk,  the  ostrich 
feather,  the  uraeus,  and  the  guitar  nablium.  They  may  mean 
"Truth  the  good  goddess,"  or  "lady,"  or  ma-nefer,  "good  and 

6.  Scarabaeus  in  the  same  substance,  with  a  motto  of  doubtful 

7.  Scarabaeus,  with  a  hawk,  and  God  holding  the  emblem  of  life, 
and  the  words  ma  nefer,  "good  and  true."  The  meaning  very 

8.  A  Scarabaeus  with  a  hawk-headed  gryphon,  emblem  of  Menta- 
Ra,  or  Mars.  Behind  the  monster  is  the  goddess  Sati,  or  Nuben. 
The  hawk-headed  lion  is  one  of  the  shapes  into  which  the  sun  turns 
himself  in  the  hours  of  the  day.  It  is  a  common  emblem  of  the 
Aramaean  religion. 

9.  Scarabaeus  with  hawk-headed  gryphon,  having  before  in  the 
uraeus  and  the  nabla  or  guitar,  hieroglyphic  of  good.  Above  it  are 
the  hieroglyphics  "Lord  of  the  earth." 

10.  Small  Scarabseus  in  dark  steaschist,  with  a  man  in  adoration 
to  a  king  or  deity,  wearing  a  crown  of  the  upper  country,  and 
holding  in  the  left  hand  a  lotus  flower.  Between  this  is  the  emblem 
of  life. 

11.  Scarabaeus,  with  the  hawk-headed  Scarabaeus,  emblem  of 
Ra-cheper,  "the  creator  Sun,"  flying  with  expanded  wings,  four  in 
number,  which  do  not  appear  in  Egyptian  mythology  till  after  the 


ornaments  the  figures  of  Scarabs.  Those  on  the  cubes  are 
with  outstretched  wings,  inlaid  with  gold.  The  cubes  have 
much  the  appearance  of  weights.^ 

The  Scarabseus  was  not  only  venerated  when  alive,  but 
embalmed  after  death.  In  that  state  they  are  found  at 
Thebes.  It,  however,  was  not  the  only  insect  thus  honored, 
for  in  one  of  the  heads  brought  by  Mr.  Wilkinson  from 
Thebes,  several  others  were  discovered.  These  were  sub- 
mitted to  Mr.  Hope  for  examination ;  and  the  species  ascer- 
tained by  this  gentleman,  Mr.  Pettigrew  has  enumerated  as 
follows : 

1.  Corynetes  violaceous,  Fah. 

2.  Necrobia  mumiarum,  Hope. 

3.  Dermestes  vulpinus,  Fab. 

4. pollinctus,  Hope. 

5. roei,  Hope. 

6. elongatus,  Hope. 

T.  Pimelia  spinulosa,  Klug  f 

8.  Copris  sabseus  ?  "found  by  Passalacqua;  so  named 
on  the  testimony  of  Latrielle." 

9.  Midas,  Fab. 

10.  Pithecius,  Fab. 

11.  A  species  of  Cantharis  in  Passalacqua's  Collection, 
No.  442.^  The  House-fly  has  also  been  found  embalmed 
at  Thebes.3 

Concerning  the  worship  in  general  of  the  Scarabaeus, 
many  curious  observations  have  been  made  besides  the 
ones  above  recorded. 

Pliny,  in  the  words  of  his  ancient  translator,  Philemon 
Holland,  tells  us  ''  The  greater  part  of  ^gypt  honour  all 
beetles,  and  adore  them  as  gods,  or  at  leastwise  having 

time  of  the  Persians,  -when  the  gods  assume  a  more  Pantheistic 
form.  Such  a  representation  of  the  sun,  for  instance,  is  found  in 
the  Torso  Borghese. 

It  will  be  observed,  adds  Layard,  that  most  of  the  Egyptian  relics 
discovered  in  the  Assyrian  ruins  are  of  the  time  of  the  xviii.  Egyp- 
tian dynasty,  or  of  the  fifteenth  century  before  Christ ;  a  period 
when,  as  we  learn  from  Egyptian  monuments,  there  was  a  close 
connection  between  Assyria  and  Egypt. — Layard's  Babylon  and 
Nineveh,  p.  239-240. 

^  Layard's  Babi/ 1  on  and  Nineveh,  p.  157,  1G6. 

2  Hist,  of  Mum.,  53-5;   AVilkin.  Anct.  Egypt.,  ii.  (2d  S.)  261,  note. 

3  Wilkin.  Anct.  Egypt.,  ii.  (2d  S.)  156. 



some  divine  power  in  them :  which  ceremoniall  devotion 
of  theirs,  Appion  g^iveth  a  subtile  and  curious  reason  of; 
for  he  doth  collect,  that  there  is  some  resemblance  between 
the  operations  and  works  of  the  Sun,  and  this  flie;  and  this 
he  setteth  abroad,  for  to  colour  and  excuse  his  country- 

Dr.  Molyneux,  in  the  conclusion  of  his  article  on  the 
swarms  of  beetles  that  appeared  in  Ireland  in  1688,  makes 
the  following  allusion  to  the  worship  of  the  Scarabaeus  by 
the  Egyptians:  "It  is  also  more  than  probable  that  this 
same  destructive  Beetle  (Hedge-chafer — Melontha  vulgaris) 
we  are  speaking  of,  was  that  very  kind  of  Scarabaeus  thia 
idolatrous  Egyptians  of  old  had  in  such  high  veneration, 
as  to  pay  divine  worship  to  it.  For  nothing  can  be  sup- 
posed more  natural,  than  to  imagine  a  Nation  addicted  to 
Polytheism,  as  the  Egyptians  were,  in  a  Country  fre- 
quently suffering  great  Mischief  and  Scarcity  from  Swarms 
of  devouring  Insects,  should  from  a  strong  Sense  and  Fear 
of  Evil  to  come  (the  common  Principle  of  Superstition  and 
Idolatry)  give  sacred  worship  to  the  visible  Authors  of 
these  their  Sufferings,  in  hopes  to  render  them  more  pro- 
pitious for  the  future.  Thus  'tis  allowed  on  all  hands,  that 
the  same  People  adored  as  a  God  the  ravenous  Crocodile  of 
the  River  Nile ;  and  thus  the  Romans,  though  more  polite 
and  civilized  in  their  Idolatry,  Febrem  ad  minas  nocendam 
venerabantur,  eamqiie  variis  Templis  extructis  colebant, 
says  Valerius  Maximus,  L.  2,  c.  5."^ 

It  is  curious  to  observe  how  the  reason  is  affected  by  cir- 
cumstances. The  mind  of  Dr.  Molyneux  being  long  engaged 
upon  the  destruction  caused  by  insects,  worked  itself  insen- 
sibly into  certain  grooves,  out  of  which  it  was  afterward  im- 
possible to  act.  The  same  maybe  remarked  of  Mr.  Henry 
Baker,  as  appears  from  his  article,  "  On  a  Beetle  that  lived 
three  years  without  Food."  In  conclusion,  this  gentleman 
says,  "As  the  Egyptians  were  a  wise  and  learned  people, 
we  cannot  imagine  they  would  show  so  much  regard  to  a 
creature  of  such  a  mean  appearance  (as  the  Beetle)  with- 
out some  extraordinary  reason  for  so  doing.  And  is  it  not 
possible  they  might  have  discovered  its  being  able  to  subsist 

1  Pliny,  Nat.  Hist.,  xxx    11  ;   Holland,  ii.  395.  K. 

3  Phil.  Trans.  Abridg.,  ii.  785;    Gent.  Mag.,  xix.  264-5. 


a  very  long  time  without  any  visible  sustenance,  and  there- 
fore made  it  a  symbol  of  the  Deity  ?"^ 


1  Phil.  Trans.  Ahridg.,  ix.  11.  Concerning  the  worship  of  animals 
in  general  by  the  Egyptians,  the  following  remarks  in  a  note  may  not 
be  inappropriate,  as  they  embrace  the  worship  of  the  Scarabajus. 

1.  A  class  of  animals,  to  which  may  be  referred  the  cow,  dog, 
sheep,  and  ibis,  were  at  first  naturally  protected  and  respected  out 
of  gratitude  for  the  benefits  derived  from  them.  But  in  time,  it  is 
supposed,  this  respect,  by  unthoughtful  descendants  believing  too 
implicitly  the  teachings  of  their  fathers,  was  gradually  enlarged  to 
so  great  extent  that  it  became  reverence,  and  at  last,  perhaps  after 
centuries,  worship.  For  example,  at  A  time,  the  ibis  is  respected 
on  account  of  its  destroying  noxious  serpents;  at  B,  reverenced; 
and  at  C,  worshiped 

2.  When  at  C  time,  the  ibis  is  worshiped,  suppose  the  masses  have 
lost  the  reason  (which  in  the  case  of  the  Egyptians  is  an  allowable 
supposition,  since  it  is  an  historical  fact  that  but  the  initiated  knew 
tlie  reasons  for  their  manner  of  worship),  and  serpents  are  its  food,  is 
it  plain  then  that  if  the  food  be  taken  away  the  sacred  bird  cannot 
live?  Hence  at  Ctime  are  serpents  preserved  and  protected  as  food 
for  the  ibis;  and  as  this  protecting  care  increases  as  above,  till  at  D 
they  are  reverenced,  and  at  E  worshiped.  To  this  second  class  may 
be  referred  the  crocodile,  which  was  preserved,  etc.  as  food  for  the 
ichneumon,  a  sacred  animal  of  the  first  class. 

3.  Analogies  between  animals,  and  even  plants,  and  certain  sources 
of  goodness,  or  objects  of  wonder,  as  the  sun,  and  motion  of  the 
stars,  were  at  A  time,  noticed;  at  B,  respected  or  reverenced;  and 
atC,  worshiped.  Thus,  among  plants,  became  the  onion  sacred,  from 
the  resemblance  of  the  laminae  which  compose  it,  in  a  transverse 
section,  to  circles — to  the  orbits  of  the  planets.  And  thus  the  Scara- 
baeus  from  the  analogies  between  its  movements  and  shape  and  the 
motions  of  the  sun,  traced,  as  we  have  before  remarked  on  the  au- 
thority of  several  ancient  writers,  became  also  an  object  of  adora- 

4.  A  fourth  reason  may  also  be  given,  which  follows  as  a  conse- 
quence of  the  latter.  If  such  analogy,  as.  for  example,  that  between 
the  beetle  and  the  sun,  had  been  observed  in  the  time  of  picture  and 
hieroglyphic  writing,  to  represent  the  sun,  the  beetle  would  have 
been  taken.  Now,  it  is  a  well-authenticated  fact,  that  these  hiero- 
glyphics in  time  became  sacred,  and,  if  the  beetle  was  found  among 
them,  it  for  this,  if  for  no  other  reason,  would  have  been  looked  upon 
with  the  same  veneration. 

5.  Good  men,  too,  to  preserve  the  lives  of  animals  oftentimes  wan- 
tonly taken,  introduce  them  into  fables  and  poetry,  and  connect 
pleasing  tales  with  them.  The  "Babes  in  the  Wood"  have  so  fixed 
the  respect  for  the  tameness  of  the  robin,  that  it  is  even  now  deemed 
a  sacrilege  with  our  boys  to  stone  this  bird.  And  may  there  not 
have  been  such  good  men,  and  such  tender  stories,  among  the  Egyp- 
tians, and  the  remembrance  of  whom  and  which  long  lost  by  the 
lapse  of  time? 


In  parts  of  Europe  the  ladies  string  together  for  neck- 
laces the  burnished  s^iolet-colored  thighs  of  the  Geotrupes 
stercorainus  and  such  like  brilliant  species  of  insects.^     '^ 

Under  GopiHs  molossus,  in  Donovan's  Insects  of  China, 
it  is  mentioned  that  the  larvae  of  the  larger  kinds  of  coleop- 
terous insects,  abounding  in  unctuous  moisture,  are  much 
esteemed  as  food  by  the  Chinese  "  Under  the  roots  of 
the  canes  is  found  a  large,  white  grub,  which,  being  fried 
in  oil,  is  eaten  as  a  dainty  by  the  Chinese."  Donovan  sug- 
gests that  perhaps  this  is  the  larvae  of  the  Scarabaeus 
(coprHs)  molossus,  the  general  description  and  abundance 
of  which  insect  in  China  favors  such  an  opinion.^ 

Insects  belonging  to  the  family  Scarabseidae  have  been 
used  also  in  medicine.  Pliny  says  the  green  Scarabaeus  has 
the  property  of  rendering  the  sight  more  piercing  of  those 
who  gaze  upon  it,  and  that  hence,  engravers  of  precious 
stones  use  these  insects  to  steady  their  sight.^ 

Again,  he  says  :  "And  many  there  be,  who,  by  the  direc- 
tions of  magicians,  carrie  about  them  in  like  manner,"  i.e. 
tied  up  in  a  linen  cloth  with  a  red  string,  and  attached  to 
the  body,  "  for  the  quartan  ague,  one  of  these  flies  or  bee- 
tles that  use  to  roll  up  little  balls  of  earth."*  We  learn 
from  Schroder  (v.  345)  that  the  powder  of  the  Scarabaeus 
pilurarius  "  sprinkled  upon  a  protuberating  eye  or  pro- 
lapsed anus,  is  said  to  aftbrd  singular  relief;"  and  that  "an 
oil  prepared  of  these  insects  by  boihng  in  oil  till  they  are 
consumed,  and  applied  to  the  blind  haemorrhoids,  by  means 
of  a  piece  of  cotton,  is  said  to  mitigate  the  pains  thereof."^ 
Fabricius  states  that  the  Scarabaeus  (copris)  molossus  is 
medicinally  employed  in  China.^ 

We  quote  the  following  from  Moufet :  "  The  Beetle  en- 
graven on  an  emerald  yeelds  a  present  remedy  against  all 
witchcrafts,  and  no  less  effectual  than  that  moly  which  Mer- 
cury once  gave  Ulysses.  Nor  is  it  good  only  against 
these,  but  it  is  also  very  useful,  if  any  one  be  about  to  go 
before  the  king  upon  any  occasion,  so  that  such  a  ring 
ought  especially  to  be  worn  by  them  that  intend  to  beg  of 

1  Kirb.  and  Sp.  Introd.,  i.  33. 

2  Ins.  of  China,  p.  6. 

3  Nat.  'llist.,  xxix.  6  (38). 

*  Nat.  Hist.,  XXX.  11  (30).   Holland,  Trans.,  ii.  390. 

6  James'  Med.  Diet. 

6  Donovan's  Ins.  of  China,  p.  G. 


noblemen  some  jolly  preferment  or  some  rich  province.  It 
keeps  away  likewise  the  head-ach,  which,  truly,  is  no  small 
mischief,  especially  to  great  drinkers 

"  The  magicians  will  scarce  finde  credit,  when  foolishly 
rather  than  truly,  they  report  and  imagine  that  the  precious 
stone  Chelonitis,  that  is  adorned  with  golden  spots,  put 
into  hot  water  with  a  Beetle,  raiseth  tempests.  Pliny,  I. 
3T,c.  10. 

"  The  eagle,  the  Beetle's  proud  and  cruel  enemy,  does  no 
less  make  havock  of  and  devour  this  creature  of  so  mean 
a  rank,  yet  as  soon  as  it  gets  an  opportunity,  it  returneth 
like  for  like,  and  sufficiently  punisheth  that  spoiler.  For  it 
flyeth  up  nimbly  into  her  nest  with  its  fellow-soldiers,  the 
Scara-beetles,  and  in  the  absence  of  the  old  she  eagle  bring- 
eth  out  of  the  nest  the  eagle's  eggs  one  after  another,  till 
there  be  none  left;  which  falling,  and  being  broken,  the 
young  ones,  while  they  are  yet  unshapen,  being  dashed 
miserably  against  the  stones,  are  deprived  of  hfe,  before 
they  can  have  any  sense  of  it.  Neither  do  I  see  indeed 
how  she  should  more  torment  the  eagle  than  in  her  young 
ones.  For  some  who  slight  the  greatest  torments  of  their 
own  body,  cannot  endure  the  least  torments  of  their  sons."^ 

Pliny  says  that  in  Thrace,  near  Olynthus,  there  is  a 
small  locality,  the  only  one  in  which  the  beetle^  cannot  ex- 
ist ;  from  which  circumstance  it  has  received  the  name  of 
**  Cautharolethus — Fatal-to-the-Beetle."^ 

Dynastidae — Hercules-beetle,  etc. 

The  Hercules-beetle,  Dynasfes  Hercules,  is  four,  five, 
or  even  sometimes  six  inches  long,  and  a  native  of  South 
America.  It  is  said  great  numbers  of  these  immense  in- 
sects are  sometimes  seen  on  the  Mammsea-tree,  rasping  off 
the  rind  of  the  slender  branches  by  working  nimbly  round 
them  with  their  horns,  till  they  cause  the  juice  to  flow, 
which  they  drink  to  intoxication,  and  thus  fall  senseless  to 

1  Theair.  Ins.,  p.  160.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  1012. 

2  Cuvier  suggests  that  the  Scarabseus  nasicornis  of  Linnasus,  which 
haunts  dead  bark,  or  the  S.  auratus,  may  be  the  insect  here  referred  to. 

3  Nat.  Hist.,  xi.  28  (34). 



the  p^rouncl !  These  stories,  however,  as  the  learned  Fabri- 
cius  has  well  observed,  seem  not  very  probable  ;  since  the 
thoracic  horn,  being  bearded  on  its  lower  surface,  would 
undoubtedly  be  made  bare  by  this  operation.^ 

Col.  St.  Clair,  though  he  confesses  he  never  could  take 
one  of  these  insects  in  the  act  of  sawing  off  the  limbs  of 
trees,  or  ascertain  what  they  worked  for,  gravely  repeats 
the  above  old  story,  and  says  that  during  the  operation  they 
make  a  noise  exactly  like  that  of  a  knife-grinder  holding 
steel  against  the  stone  of  his  wheel;  but  a  thousand  knife- 
grinders  at  work  at  the  same  moment,  he  continues,  could 
not  equal  their  noise  I  He  calls  this  beetle  hence  the  knife- 

The  Goliath-beetle,  Dynasies  Goliathus,  is  said  to  be 
roasted  and  eaten  by  the  natives  of  South  America  and 

The  enormous  prices  of  £30,  £40,  and  even  £50  used  to 
be  asked  for  these  latter  beetles  a  piece;  fine  specimens  for 
cabinets  even  now  bring  from  five  to  six  pounds.'^ 

The  large  pulpy  larva  of  a  species  of  Dynastidae — the 
Oryctes  rhinoceros,  called  by  the  Singhalese  Gascooroo- 
ininiya — is,  notwithstanding  its  repulsive  aspect,  esteemed 
a  luxury  by  the  Malabar  coolies.^ 

Immediately  after  mentioning  the  above  fact,  Tennent 
records  the  following  interesting  superstition  respecting  a 
beetle  when  found  in  a  house  after  sunset : 

"Among  the  superstitions  of  the  Singhalese  arising  out 
of  their  belief  in  demonology,  one  remarkable  one  is  con- 
nected with  the  appearance  of  a  beetle  when  observed  on 
the  floor  of  a  dwelling-house  after  nightfall.  The  popular 
belief  is  that  in  obedience  to  a  certain  form  of  incantation 
(called  cooroominiya-pilli)  a  demon  in  shape  of  a  beetle  is 
sent  to  the  house  of  some  person  or  family  whose  destruc- 
tion it  is  intended  to  compass,  and  who  presently  falls  sick 
and  dies.  The  only  means  of  averting  this  catastrophy  is, 
that  some  one,  himself  an  adept  in  necromancy,  should 
perform  a  counter-charm,  the  efi'ect  of  which  is  to  send 
laack  the  disguised  beetle  to  destroy  his  original  employer; 
for  in  such  a  conjuncture  the  death  of  one  or  the  other 

1  Shaw's  Zool.,  vi.  20.     Baird's  Cyclop,  of  Nat.  Sci. 

2  St.  Clair,   West  Indies,  etc.,  i.  152. 

3  Simmond,  Curiosities  of  Food,  p   295.  *  Thid. 
5  Tcnneiif.  Nat.  Hist,  of  f'n/lon.  p.  407. 


is  essential  to  appease  the  demon  whose  intervention  has 
been  invoked.     Hence  the  discomfort  of  a  Singhalese  on 
finding  a  beetle  in  his  house  after  sunset,  and  his  anxiety 
I  to  expel  but  not  kill  it."^ 

The  Dynastes  Goliathus,  Moufet  says,  "like  to  beetles 
(Ateuchus  sacer),  hath  no  female,  but  it  shapes  its  own 
form  itself.  It  produceth  its  young  one  from  the  ground 
by  itself,  which  Joach.  Camerarius  did  elegantly  express, 
when  he  sent  to  Pennius  the  shape  of  this  insect  out  of  the 
storehouse  of  natural  things  of  the  Duke  of  Saxony  ;  with 
these  verses : 

A  bee  begat  me  not,  nor  yet  did  I  proceed 
From  any  female,  but  myself  I  breed. 

For  it  dies  once  in  a  year,"  continues  Moufet,  "and  from  its 
own  corruption,  like  a  Phoenix,  it  lives  again  (as  Moninus 
witnesseth)  by  heat  of  the  sun. 

A  thousand  summers'  heat  and  winters'  cold 
When  she  hath  felt,  and  that  she  doth  grow  old, 
Her  life  that  seems  a  burden,  in  a  tomb 
0'  spices  laid,  comes  younger  in  her  room."^ 

Melolonthidse — Cock-chafers, 

The  family  of  insects,  commonly  called  Cock-chafers, 
Hedge-chafers,  May-bugs,  and  Dorrs  (from  the  Irish 
dord,  humming,  buzzing,  or  from  the  Anglo-Saxon  dora, 
a  locust  or  drone)  have  been  included  by  Fabricius  in  the 
genus  Melolonlha, — a  word  which  retains  an  odd  notion  of 
the  Greeks  respecting  them,  viz.,  that  they  were  produced 
from  or  with  the  flowers  of  apple-trees.  It  is  a  name 
also  by  which  the  Greeks  themselves  used  to  distinguish 
the  same  kind  of  insects. 

In  Sweden  the  peasants  look  upon  the  grub  of  the  Cock- 
chafer, Melolontha  vulgaiHs,  as  furnishing  an  unfailing 
prognostic  whether  the  ensuing  winter  will  be  mild  or 
severe ;  if  the  animal  have  a  bluish  hue  (a  circumstance 

1  Tennent,  Nat.  Hist,  of  Ceylon,  p.  407. 

2  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  152.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  1009. 


which  arises  from  its  being  replete  with  food),  they  affirm  it 
will  be  mild,  but  on  the  contrary  if  it  be  white,  the  weather 
will  be  severe :  and  they  carry  this  so  far  as  to  foretell,  that 
if  the  anterior  be  white  and  the  posterior  blue,  the  cold  will 
be  most  severe  at  the  beginning  of  the  winter.  Hence  they 
call  this  grub  Bemdrkehe-mask — prognostic  worm.^ 

An  absurd  notion  obtains  in  England  that  the  larvae  of 
the  Ma3^-bugs  are  changed  into  briers.^ 

The  following  quotation  is  from  the  Chronicle  of  Hol- 
lingshed:  "The  24  day  of  Februarie  (15*75),  being  the 
feast  of  Saint  Matthie,  on  which  dai  the  faire  was  kept  at 
Tewkesburie,  a  strange  thing  happened  there.  For  after  a 
floud  which  was  not  great,  but  such  as  therby  the  medows 
neere  adioning  were  covered  with  water,  and  in  the  after 
noone  there  came  downe  the  river  of  Seuerne  great  numbers 
of  flies  and  beetles  (3IeIoIonlha  vulgaris^),  such  as  in  sum- 
mer evenings  use  to  strike  men  in  the  face,  in  great  heapes, 
a  foot  thicke  above  the  water,  so  that  to  credible  mens 
judgement  there  were  scene  within  a  paire  of  buts  length  of 
those  flies  above  a  hundred  quarters.  The  mils  there 
abouts  were  dammed  up  with  them  for  the  space  of  foure 
dales  after,  and  then  were  clensed  by  digging  them  out 
with  shovels  :  from  whence  they  came  is  yet  unknowne  but 
the  dale  was  cold  and  a  hard  frost. "^ 

Such  another  remarkable  phenomenon  is  recorded  to* 
have  occurred  in  Ireland,  in  the  summer  of  1688.  The 
Cock-chafers,  in  this  instance,  were  in  such  immense  num- 
bers, "that  when,"  as  the  chronicler,  Dr.  Molyneux,  relates, 
"towards  evening  or  sunset,  they  would  arise,  disperse, 
and  fly  about,  with  a  strange  humming  noise,  much  like 
the  beating  of  drums  at  some  distance ;  and  in  such  vast 
incredible  numbers,  that  they  darkened  the  air  for  the  space 
of  two  or  three  miles  square.  The  grinding  of  leaves,"  he 
continues,  "in  the  mouths  of  this  vast  multitude  altogether, 
made  a  sound  very  much  resembling  the  sawing  of  timber."^ 

In  a  short  time  after  the  appearance  of  these  beetles  in 

-6.     Kirb  and  Sp.  Introd.,  i.  33. 

2  Hist,  of  Ins.  (Murray,  1830)  ii.  296. 

3  Chronicles,  iv.  326.  —  The  water  overflowing  the  low  grounds 
brought  the  beetles  for  air  to  the  surface,  whence  they  were  swept 
awav  by  the  current. 

4  Phil.  Trans.  Abridg.,  ii.  781-3. 


these  immense  numbers,  they  had  so  entirely  eaten  up  and 
destroyed  the  leaves  of  the  trees,  that  the  whole  country, 
for  miles  around,  though  in  the  middle  of  summer,  was  left 
as  bare  as  in  the  depth  of  winter. 

During  the  unfavorable  seasons  of  the  weather,  wliich 
followed  this  plague,  the  swine  and  poultry  would  watch 
under  the  trees  for  the  falling  of  the  beetles,  and  feed  and 
fatten  upon  them ;  and  even  the  poorer  sort  of  the  country 
people,  the  country  then  laboring  under  a  scarcity  of  pro- 
vision, had  a  way  of  dressing  them,  and  lived  ujjon  them 
as  food.  In  1695,  Ireland  was  again  visited  with  a  plague 
of  this  same  kind.^ 

In  Normandy,  according  to  Mouffet,  the  Cock-chafers 
make  their  appearance  every  third  year.^  In  It 85,  many 
provinces  of  France  were  so  ravaged  by  them,  that  a  pre- 
mium was  offered  by  the  government  for  the  best  mode  of 
destroying  them.^  During  this  year,  a  farmer,  near  Blois, 
employed  a  number  of  children  and  the  poorer  people  to 
destroy  the  Cock-chafers  at  the  rate  of  two  liards  a  hun- 
dred, and  in  a  few  days  they  collected  fourteen  thousand.* 

The  county  of  Norfolk  in  England  seems  occasionally  to 
have  suffered  much  from  the  ravages  of  these  insects;  and 
Bingley  tells  us  that  "about  sixty  years  ago,  a  farm  near 
Norwich  was  so  infested  with  them,  that  the  farmer  and  his 
servants  affirmed  they  had  gathered  eighty  bushels  of  them ; 
and  the  grubs  had  done  so  much  injury,  that  the  court  of 
the  city,  in  compassion  to  the  poor  fellow's  misfortune,  al- 
lowed him  twenty-five  pounds."^ 

The  seeming  blunders  and  stupidity  of  these  insects  have 
long  been  proverbial,  as  in  the  expressions,  "blind  as  a 
beetle,"  and  "beetle-headed." 

Cetoniidae — Rose-chafers. 

A  very  pretty  species  of  the  Cetoniidae,  the  Agestrata 
luconica,  is  of  a  fine  brilliant  metallic  green,  and  found  in 

1  Phil.  Trans.  Abridg.,  ii.  782. 

2  Shaw,  Zool,  vi.  25. 

3  Kii'b.  and  Sp.  Introd.,  i.  179. 

*  Anderson's  Recr.  in  Agric,  iii.  420. 
6  Anim.  Biog.,  iii.  233. 


the  Philippine  Islands.  These  the  ladies  of  Manilla  keep  as 
pets  in  small  bamboo  cages,  and  carry  them  about  with  them 
wheresoever  they  may  go.^ 

Buprestidae — Burn-cows. 

Many  species  of  the  Bupreatidde  are  decorated  with 
highly  brilliant  metallic  tints,  like  polished  gold  upon  an 
emerald  ground,  or  azure  upon  a  ground  of  gold;  and  their 
elytra,  or  wing-coverings,  are  employed  by  the  ladies  of 
China,  and  also  of  England,  for  the  purpose  of  embroider- 
ing their  dresses.^  The  Chinese  have  also  attempted  imita- 
tions of  these  insects  in  bronze,  in  which  they  succeed  so 
w^ell  that  the  copy  may  be  sometimes  mistaken  for  the 
reality.^  In  Ceylon*  and  throughout  India, ^  the  golden 
wing-cases  of  two  of  this  tribe,  the  Sternocera  chrysis  and 
S.  sternicornis,  are  used  to  enrich  the  embroidery  of  the 
Indian  zenana,  while  the  lustrous  joints  of  the  legs  are 
strung  on  silken  threads,  and  form  necklaces  and  bracelets 
of  singular  brilliancy.  The  Buprestis  atlenuata,  ocellata 
and  vittata  are  also  wrought  into  various  devices  and  trin- 
kets by  the  Indians.  The  B.  vittata  is  much  admired  among 
them.  This  insect  is  found  in  great  abundance  in  China, 
and  thence  exported  into  India,  where  it  is  distributed  at  a 
low  price. ^ 

Mr.  Osbeck  saw  in  China  a  Buprestis  maxima,  which 
had  been  dried,  and  to  which  were  fastened  leaden  wings 
so  painted  as  to  make  them  look  like  the  wings  of  butterflies. 
This  artificial  monster,  he  adds,  was  to  be  sold  in  the  vaults 
among  other  trifles.^  The  B.  maxima  is  set  up  along  with 
Butterflies  in  small  boxes,  and  vended  in  the  streets  of 
Chinese  cities.^ 

So  many  species  of  the  Buprestidae  are  clothed  with 
with  such  brilliant  colors,  that  Geoffrey  has  thought  proper 

1  Baird's  Cyclop,  of  Nat.  Sci.  2  jn^i 

3  Shaw's  Zool,  vi."  88. 

*  Tennent,  Nat.  Hist,  of  Ceylon,  p.  405. 
5  Donovan,  Ins  of  India,  p.  5. 

*  Donovan,  Ins.  of  China,  p.  13. 

'  Travels,  i.  384.  s  jbid.,  i.  331. 


to  designate  them  all  under  the  generic  appellation  of  Rich- 
ard. The  origin  of  this  name  is  as  singular  as  its  applica- 
tion is  fantastical.  It  was  originally  given  to  the  Jay,  in 
consequence  of  the  facility  with  which  that  bird  was  taught 
to  pronounce  the  word.^ 

Modern  writers  have  been  much  divided  in  their  opinion 
as  to  what  genus  the  celebrated  Buprestis  of  the  ancients 
belongs.  All  indeed  have  regarded  it  as  of  the  order  Cole- 
optera,  but  here  their  agreement  ceases.  Linnaeus  seems  to 
have  looked  upon  it  as  a  species  of  the  genus  to  which  he 
has  given  its  name.  Geoffroy  thinks  it  to  be  a  Carabus  or 
Cicindela;  M.  Latrielle,  to  the  genus  Meloe ;  and  Kirby 
and  Spence  to  Mylabri^.^ 

Of  this  Buprestis,  Pliny  says  :  "  Incorporat  with  goat 
sewer,  it  taketh  away  the  tettars  called  lichenes  that  be  in 
the  face."^  And  Dr.  James  says  that  insects  of  this  family 
"are  all  in  common,  inseptic,  exulcerating,  and  (possess)  a 
heating  quality  ;  for  which  reason,  they  are  mixed  up  with 
medicines  adapted  to  the  cure  of  a  Carcinoma,  Lepra,  and 
the  malignant  Lichen.  Mixed  in  emollient  pessaries,  they 
provoke  the  Catamenial  discharges."* 

The  Greeks,  it  is  said,  commended  the  Buprestis  in  food.^ 

Elateridae — Fire-flies,  Spring-beetles,  etc. 

In  an  historical  sense,  the  most  interesting  species  of  the 
family  Elateridse  is  the  Elater  noclilucus,  a  native  of  the 
West  Indies,  and  called  by  the  inhabitants,  Cucujus.  From 
an  ancient  translation  of  Peter  Martyr's  History  of  the  West 
Indies,  we  make  the  following  quotation,  which  contains 
many  curious  facts  relative  to  this  insect : 

"  Whoso  wanteth  Cucvji,  goeth  out  of  the  house  in  the 
first  twilight  of  the  night,  carrying  a  burning  fier-brande  in 
his  hande,  and  ascendeth  the  next  hillocke,  that  the  Cucvji 
may  see  it,  and  swingeth  the   fier-brande    about   calling 

1  Cuvier,  An.  King. — Ins.,  i.  356. 

2  Introd  ,  i.  15G. 

^  Pliny,  XXX.  4 ;   Holland,  ii.  377.  E. 

*  iVed.  Diet.  5  fi^id. 


Cucvji  aloud,  and  beating  the  ayre  with  often  calling  and 
crying  out  Cucuji,  Cucuji.  .  .  .  Beholde  the  desired  num- 
ber of  Cucuji,  at  what  time,  the  hunter  casteth  the  fier- 
brande  out  of  his  hande.  Some  Cucuji  sometimes  followeth 
the  fier-brande,  and  lighteth  on  the  grounde,  then  is  he 
easily  taken.  .  .  .  The  hunter  havinge  the  hunting  CucuiuSj 
returneth  home,  and  shutting  the  doore  of  the  house,  letteth 
the  praye  goe.  The  Cucuius  loosed,  swiftly  flyeth  about 
the  whole  house  seeking  gnatts,  under  their  hanging  bedds, 
and  about  the  faces  of  them  that  sleepe,  whiche  the  gnattes 
used  to  assayle,  they  seem  to  execute  the  office  of  watch- 
men, that  such  as  are  shut  in,  may  quietly  rest.  Another 
pleasant  and  profitable  commodity  proceedeth  from  the 
Cucuji.  As  many  eyes  as  every  Cucuius  openeth,  the 
host  enjoyeth  the  light  of  so  many  candles  :  so  that  the 
Inhabitants  spinne,  sewe,  weave,  and  daunce  by  the  light 
of  the  flying  Cucuji.  The  Inhabitants  think  that  the 
Cucuius  is  delighted  with  the  harmony  and  melodic  of 
their  singing,  and  that  he  also  exerciseth  his  motion  in  the 
ayre  according  to  the  action  of  their  dancing.  .  ,  .  Our  men 
also  read  and  write. by  that  light,  which  always  continueth 
untill  hee  have  gotten  enough  gnatts  whereby  he  may  be 
well  fedd.  .  .  .  There  is  also  another  wonderfull  commodity 
proceeding  from  the  Cucuius:  the  Islanders,  appoynted  by 
our  menu,  goe  with  their  good  will  by  night  with  2  Cucuji 
tyed  to  the  great  tooes  of  their  feete  :  (for  the  travailer^ 
goeth  better  by  direction  of  the  lights  of  the  Cucuji,  then 
if  hee  brought  so  many  candels  with  him,  as  the  Cucuji 
open  eyes)  he  also  carryeth  another  Cucuius  in  his  hande 
to  seeke  the  Utiae  by  night  (Utiae  are  a  certayne  kind  of 
Cony,  a  little  exceeding  a  mouse  in  bignesse.)  ....  They 
also  go  a  fishing  by  the  lights  of  the  Cucuji.  ...  In  sport, 
and  merriment,  or  to  the  intent  to  terrific  such  as  are  afifrayed 
of  every  shaddow,  they  say  that  many  wanton  wild  fel- 
lowes  sometimes  rubbed  their  faces  by  night  with  the  fleshe 
of  a  Cucuius  being  killed,  with  purpose  to  meete  their  neigh- 
bors with  a  flaming  countenance  ....  for  the  face  being 
annointed  with  the  lumpe  or  fleshy  parte  of  the  Cucuius, 
shineth  like  a  flame  of  fire.'" 

1  Peruvians  travel  by  the  light  of  the  Cucujus  Feruvianus. — See 
Kirby's   Wond.  Museum,  ii.  151. 

2  Jlist.  of  West  Indies,  p.  274. 


At  Cumana,  the  use  of  the  Cucujus  is  forbidden,  as  the 
young  Spanish  ladies  used  to  cany  on  a  correspondence  at 
night  with  their  lovers  by  means  of  the  light  derived  from 

Captain  Stedman  tells  us,  that  one  of  his  sentinels,  one 
night,  called  out  that  he  saw  a  negro,  with  a  lighted  tobac- 
co-pipe, cross  a  creek  near  by  in  a  canoe.  At  which  alarm 
they  lost  no  time  in  leaping  out  of  their  hammocks,  and 
were  not  a  little  mortified  when  they  found  the  pipe  was 
nothing  more  than  a  Fire-fly  on  the  wing.^ 

An  individual  of  this  species,  brought  to  Paris  in  some 
wood,  in  the  larva  or  nymph  state,  there  underwent  its 
metamorphosis,  and  by  the  light  which  it  emitted,  excited 
the  greatest  surprise  among  many  of  the  inhabitants  of  the 
Faubourg  St.  Antoine,  to  whom  such  a  phenomenon  had 
hitherto  been  unknown.^ 

When  Cortes  and  Narvaez  were  at  war  with  one  another 
in  Mexico,  Bernal  Diaz  relates  "that  one  night  in  the  midst 
of  darkness  numbers  of  shining  Beetles  (E later  7ioctilucus) 
kept  continually  flying  about,  which  Narvaez's  men  mistook 
for  the  lighted  matches  of  our  fire-arms,  and  this  gave  them 
a  vast  idea  of  the  number  of  our  matchlocks."*  Thomas 
Campanius  tells  us  that  one  night  the  Cucuji  frightened  all 
the  soldiers  at  Fort  Christina,  in  New  Sweden  (Pennsyl- 
vania ?) :  they  thought  they  were  enemies  advancing  to- 
ward them  with  lighted  torches.^  Another  such  like  story, 
which  is  not  incredible  by  any  means,  is  told  us  by  Moufifet. 
He  says  that  when  Sir  Thomas  Cavendish  and  Sir  Robert 
Dudley  first  landed  in  the  West  Indies,  and  saw  an  infinite 
number  of  moving  lights  in  the  woods,  which  were  merely 
these  Elaters,  they  supposed  that  the  Spaniards  were  ad- 
vancing upon  them  with  lighted  matches,  and  immediately 
betook  themselves  to  their  ships.^ 

The  Indians  of  the  Carribbee  Islands,  Ogleby  remarks, 
"  anoint  their  bodies  all  over  (at  certain  solemnities  wherein 
candles  are  forbidden)  with  the  juice  squeezed  out  of  them 

1  Baird's  Cyclop,  of  Nat.  Sci. 

2  Stedm.  Surinam,  i.  140. 

3  Cuvier,  An.  King. — Ins.,  i.  321, 
*  Conq.  of  Mex.,  i.  327. 

5  Hist,  of  New  Swed.,  p.  162. 
*>  Theatr.  Insect.,  p.  112. 


(Cucuji),  which  causes  them  to  shine  hke  a  flame  of  fire."^ 
And  in  the  Spanish  Colonies,  on  certain  festival  days  in 
the  month  of  June,  these  insects  are  collected  in  great  num- 
bers, and  tied  as  decorations  all  over  the  garments  of  the 
3^oung  people,  who  gallop  through  the  streets  on  horses 
similarly  ornamented,  producing  on  a  dark  evening  the 
effect  of  a  large  moving  body  of  light.  On  such  occasions 
the  lover  displays  his  gallantry  by  decking  his  mistress 
with  these  living  gems.^ 

At  the  present  day,  the  poorer  classes  of  Cuba  and  the 
other  West  India  Islands,  make  use  of  these  luminous  in- 
sects for  lights  in  their  houses.  Twenty  or  thirty  of  them 
put  into  a  small  wicker-work  cage,  and  dampened  a  little 
with  water,  will  produce  quite  a  brilliant  light.  Through- 
out these  islands,  the  Cucujus  is  worn  by  the  ladies  as  a 
most  fashionable  ornament.  As  many  as  fifty  or  a  hun- 
dred are  sometimes  worn  on  a  single  ball-room  dress. 
Capt.  Stuart  tells  me  he  once  saw  one  of  these  insects  upon 
a  lady's  white  collar,  which  at  a  little  distance  rivaled  the 
Kohinoor  in  splendor  and  beauty.  The  insect  is  fastened 
to  the  dress  by  a  pin  through  its  body,  and  only  worn  so 
long  as  it  lives,  for  it  loses  its  light  when  dead. 

The  statement  of  Humboldt  is,  that  at  the  present  day 
in  the  habitations  of  the  poorer  classes  of  Cuba,  a  dozen  of 
Cucuji  placed  in  a  perforated  gourd  sufiSce  for  a  light  during 
the  night.  By  shaking  the  gourd  quickly,  the  insect  is 
roused,  and  lights  up  its  luminous  disks.  The  inhabitants 
employ  a  truthful  and  simple  expression,  in  saying  that  a 
gourd  filled  with  Cucuji  is  an  ever-lighted  torch ;  and  in 
fact  it  is  only  extinguished  by  the  death  of  the  insects, 
which  are  easily  kept  alive  with  a  little  sugar  cane.  A 
lady  in  Trinidad  told  this  great  traveler,  that  during  a  long 
and  painful  passage  from  Costa  Firme,  she  had  availed 
herself  of  these  phosphorescent  insects  whenever  she  wished 
to  give  the  breast  to  her  child  at  night.  The  captain  of 
the  ship  would  not  permit  any  other  light  on  board  at 
night,  for  fear  of  the  privateers.^ 

Southy  has    happily    introduced    the    Cucujus    in   his 

1  Hist,  of  Amer.,  p.  378. 

2  Walton,  Pres.  St.  of  Span.  Col.,  i.  128. 
'  Humboldt's  Cuba,  p.  395. 


"Madoc"  as  furnishing  the  lamp  by  which  Coatel  rescued 
the  British  hero  from  the  hands  of  the  Mexican  priests  : 

She  beckon'd  and  descended,  and  drew  out 
From  underneath  her  vest  a  cage,  or  net 
It  rather  might  be  called,  so  fine  the  twigs 
Which  knit  it,  where,  confined,  two  fire-flies  gave 
Their  lustre.     By  that  light  did  Madoc  first 
Behold  the  features  of  his  lovely  guide, 

Darwin  says  :  "  In  Jamaica,  at  some  seasons  of  the  year, 
the  Fire-flies  are  seen  in  the  evening  in  great  abundance. 
When  they  settle  on  the  ground,  the  bull-frog  greedily  de- 
vours them,  which  seems  to  have  given  origin  to  a  curious, 
though  very  cruel,  method  of  destroying  these  animals  : 
if  red-hot  pieces  of  charcoal  be  thrown  toward  them  in  the 
dusk  of  the  evening,  they  leap  at  them,  and  hastily  swal- 
low them,  mistaking  them  for  Fire-flies,  and  are  burnt  to 
death."  (!y 

Beetles  belonging  to  the  family  Elateridse  have  been  so 
called  from  a  peculiar  power  they  have  of  leaping  up  like 
a  tumbler  when  placed  on  their  backs,  and  for  this  reason 
they  have  received  the  English  appellations  of  Spring-bee- 
tles and  Skip-jacks,  and  from  the  noise  which  the  operation 
makes  when  they  leap,  they  are  also  called  Snap,  Watch,  or 
Click-beetle,  and  likewise  Blacksmiths. 

If  a  Blacksmith  beetle  enters  your  house,  a  quarrel  will 
ensue  which  may  end  in  blows. 

This  superstition  obtains  in  Maryland. 

Lampyridae. — Glow-worms. 

Antonius  Thylesius  Bonsentinus,  following  his  elegant 
description  of  the  Glow-worm,  gives  a  pretty  fable  of  its 
origin.  As  translated  in  Moufet's  Theater  of  Insects,  his 
words  are  these : 

This  little  fly  shines  in  the  air  alone, 
Like  sparks  of  fire,  which  when  it  was  unknown 
To  me  a  boy,  I  stood  then  in  great  fear, 
Durst  not  attempt  to  touch  it,  or  come  near. 

1  Saturday  Mag.,  ix.  229. 


May  be  this  worm  from  shining  in  the  night, 
Borrowed  its  name,  shining  like  candle  bright. 
The  cause  is  one,  but  divers  are  the  names, 
It  shines  or  not,  according  as  she  frames 
Herself  to  fly  or  stand;   when  she  doth  fly, 
You  would  believe  'twere  sparkles  in  the  skie, 
At  a  great  distance  you  shall  ever  finde 
Prepar'd  with  light  and  lanthorn  all  this  kinde. 
Darkness  cannot  conceal  her,  round  about 
Her  candle  shines,  no  winds  can  blow  it  out. 
Sometimes  she  flies  as  though  she  did  desire 
Those  that  pass  by  to  observe  her  fire: 
"Which  being  nearer,  seem  to  be  as  great. 
As  sparks  that  fly  when  smiths  hot  iron  beat. 
When  Pluto  ravish'd  Proserpine,  that  rape. 
For  she  was  waiting  on  her,  changed  her  shape, 
And  since  that  time,  she  flyeth  in  the  night 
Seeking  her  out  with  torch  and  candle  light. ^ 

The  following  anecdote  is  related  by  Sir  J.  E.  Smith,  of 
the  effect  of  the  first  sight  of  the  Italian  Glow-worms  upon 
some  Moorish  ladies  ignorant  of  such  appearances.  These 
females  had  been  taken  prisoners  at  sea,  and,  until  they 
could  be  ransomed,  lived  in  a  house  in  the  outskirts  of 
Genoa,  where  they  were  frequently  visited  by  the  respect- 
able inhabitants  of  the  city ;  a  party  of  whom,  on  going 
one  evening,  were  surprised  to  hud  the  house  closely  shut 
up,  and  their  Moorish  friends  in  the  greatest  consternation. 
On  inquiring  into  the  cause,  they  found  that  some  Glow- 
worms— Fygolampia  Italica — had  found  their  way  into  the 
building,  and  that  the  ladies  within  had  taken  it  into  their 
heads  that  these  brilliant  guests  were  no  other  than  the 
troubled  spirits  of  their  relations ;  of  which  curious  idea  it 
was  some  time  before  they  could  be  divested. — The  common 
people  of  Italy  have  a  superstition  respecting  these  insects 
somewhat  similar,  believing  that  they  are  of  a  spiritual 
nature,  and  proceed  out  of  the  graves,  and  hence  carefully 
avoid  them.'^ 

Cardan,  Albertus,  Gaudentinus,  Mizalduo,  and  many 
others  have  asserted  that  perpetual  lights  can  be  produced 
from  the  Glow-worm;  and  that  waters  distilled  from  this 
insect  afford  a  lustre  in  the  night.  It  is  needless  to  say 
these  assertions  are  without  foundation.^ 

1  Tkeatr.  Ins.,  p.  111.     Topsel's  Ilisf.  of  Beasts,  p.  977. 

'■^  Tour  on  the  Continent,  2d.  Edit.,  iii.  85. 

3  Browne's  Vulg.  Err.,  B.  iii.  c.  17.      Works,  ii.  531. 


In  India,  the  ladies  have  recourse  to  Fire-flies  for  orna- 
ments for  their  hair,  when  they  take  their  evening  walks. 
They  inclose  them  in  nets  of  gauze.^  And  the  beaux  of 
Italy,  Sir  J.  E.  Smith  tells  us,  are  accustomed  in  the  summer 
evenings  to  adorn  the  heads  of  the  ladies  with  Glow-worms, 
by  sticking  them  also  in  their  hair.^ 

Never  kill  a  Glow-worm,  if  you  do,  the  country  people 
say,  you  will  put  "the  light  out  of  your  house," — i.e. 
happiness,  prosperity,  or  whatever  blessing  you  may  be  en- 

A  Glow-worm,  in  your  path,  denotes  brilliant  success  in 
all  your  undertakings.  If  one  enters  a  house,  one  of  the 
heads  of  the  family  will  shortly  die.  These  superstitions 
obtain  in  Maryland. 

Of  the  Glow-worm — Noctiluca  terrestris,  Col.  Ecphr.,  i. 
38 — Dr.  James  says:  "The  whole  insect  is  used  in  medicine, 
and  recommended  by  some  against  the  Stone.  Cardan  as- 
cribes an  anodyne  virtue  to  it."^ 

Mr.  Ray,  in  his  travels  through  the  State  of  Yenice,  says  ; 
"A  discovery  made  by  a  certain  gentleman,  and  communi- 
cated to  me  by  Francis  Jessop,  Esq.,  is,  that  those  reputed 
meteors,  called  in  Latin  Ignis  fatui,  and  known  in  Eng- 
land by  the  conceited  names  of  Jack  ivith  a  Lanthorn,  and 
Will  ivilh  a  Wisp,  are  nothing  else  but  swarms  of  these 
flying  Glow-worms.  Which,  if  true,  we  may  give  an  easy 
account  of  those  phenomena  of  these  supposed  fires,  viz., 
their  sudden  motion  from  place  to  place,  and  leading  travel- 
ers that  follow  them  into  bogs  and  precipices."^  It  has  been 
suggested^  also  that  the  mole-cricket,  Gryllotalpa  vulgaris,^ 
which  in  its  nocturnal  peregrinations  was  supposed  to  be 
luminous,  is  this  notorious  "Will-o'-the-wisp." 

Pliny  says  :  "  When  Glow-worms  appear,  it  is  a  common 

1  Kirb.  aud  Sp.  Introd ,  i.  317. 

2  Tour  on  Continent,  iii.  85.     2d  Edit. 
5  Med.  Diet. 

4  Harris'  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  ii.  G88. 

5  Harris,  Farm  Insects,  p.  372. 

6  This  insect  lias  received  its  English  names,  of  Mule-cricket  and 
Earth-crab,  from  its  burrowing  like  a  mole,  and  some  species  of  W. 
Indian  crabs;  and,  from  its  supposed  jarring  song  at  night,  it  is 
also  called  Eve-churr,  Churr-worm,  and  Jarr-worm. — Ibid. 



sign  of  the  ripenesse  of  barley,  and  of  sowing  raijlet  and 
pannick And  Mantuan  sang  to  the  same  tune : 

Then  is  the  time  your  barley  for  to  mow, 

When  Glow-worms  with  bright  wings  themselves  do  show."^ 

Ptinidse — Death-watch,  etc. 

The  common  name  oi  Death-watch,  given  to  the  Anobium 
fesselntum,  sufficiently  announces  the  popular  prejudice 
against  this  insect;  and  so  great  is  this  prejudice,  that,  as 
says  an  editor  of  Cuvier's  works,  the  fate  of  many  a  nerv- 
ous and  superstitious  patient  has  been  accelerated  by  listen- 
ing, in  the  silence  and  solitude  of  night,  to  this  imagined 
knell  of  his  approaching  dissolution. ^  The  learned  Sir 
Thomas  Browne  considered  the  superstition  connected  with 
the  Death-watch  of  great  importance,  and  remarks  that 
"the  man  who  could  eradicate  this  error  from  the  minds  of 
the  people  would  save  from  many  a  cold  sweat  the  meticu- 
lous heads  of  nurses  and  grandmothers,"^  for  such  persons 
are  firm  in  the  belief,  that 

The  solemn  Death-watch  clicks  the  hour  of  death. 

The  witty  Dean  of  St.  Patrick  endeavored  to  perform 
this  useful  task  by  means  of  ridicule.  And  his  description, 
suggested,  it  would  appear,  by  the  old  song  of  "A  cobbler 
there  was,  and  he  lived  in  a  stall,"  runs  thus : 

A  wood  worm 

That  lies  in  old  wood,  like  a  hare  in  her  form, 

With  teeth  or  with  claws,  it  will  bite,  it  will  scratch ; 

And  chambermaids  christen  this  worm  a  Death-watch; 

Because,  like  a  watch,  it  always  cries  click. 

Then  woe  be  to  those  in  tlie  house  that  are  sick! 

For,  sure  as  a  gun,  they  will  give  up  the  ghost. 

If  the  maggot  cries  click  when  it  scratches  the  post. 

But  a  kettle  of  scalding  hot  water  injected, 

Infallibly  cures  the  timber  affected  : 

The  omen  is  broken,  the  danger  is  over, 

The  maggot  will  die,  and  the  sick  will  recover. 

1  Moufet,  Theafr.  Ins.,  p.  110.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  977. 

2  Cuvier,  A?k  King  — Ins.,  1,  382. 
8  Cf.  Works,  ii.  375. 


Grose,  in  his  Antiquities,  thus  expresses  this  superstition  : 
"The  clicking  of  a  Death-watch  is  an  omen  of  the  death  of 
!  some  one  in  the  house  wherein  it  is  heard."     Watts  says: 
;"We  learn  to  presage  approaching  death  in  a  family  by 
f  ravens  and  little  worms,  which  we  therefore  call  a  Death- 
watch."^     Gay,  in  one  of  his  Pastorals,  thus  alludes  to  it: 

i  When  Blonzelind  expired,  .... 

The  solemn  Death-watch  click'd  the  hour  she  died. 2 

And  Train, — 

An'  when  she  heard  the  Dead-watch  tick, 

She  raving  wild  did  say, 
<'I  am  thy  murderer,  my  child; 

I  see  thee,  come  away." 

And  Pope, — 

Misers  are  muck-worms,  silkworms  beaux, 
And  Death  watches  physicians. ^ 

"  It  wil^  take,"  says  Mrs.  Taylor,  a  writer  in  Harper's 
i  New  Monthly  Magazine,  "a  force  unknown  at  the  present 
time  to  physiological  science  to  eradicate  the  feeling  of  ter- 
ror and  apprehension  felt  by  almost  every  one  on  hearing 
this  small  insect."  She  herself,  an  entomologist,  confesses  to 
have  been  very  much  annoyed  at  times  by  coming  in  contact 
with  this  "strange  nuisance;"   but  she  was  cured  by  an 
overapplication.     "I  went  to  pay  a  visit,"  says  she,  "to  a 
I  friend  in  the  country.     The  first  night  I  fancied  I  should 
have  gone  mad  before  morning.     The  walls  of  the  bed-room 
were  papered,  and  from  them  beat,  as  it  were,  a  thousand 
'  watches — tick,  tick,  tick  !     Turn  which  way  I  would,  cover 
I  my  head  under  the  bedclothes  to  suffocation,  every  pulse  in 
!  my  body  had  an  answering  tick,  tick,  tick !     But  at  last  the 
!  welcome  morning  dawned,   and  early  I  was  down  in  the 
\  library ;  even  here  every  book,  on  shelf  above  shelf,  was 
riotous  with  tick,  tick,  tick  !     At  the  breakfast  table,  be- 
neath the  plates,  cups,  and  dishes,  beat  the  hateful  sound. 
In  the  parlor,  the  withdrawing-room,  the  kitchen,  nothing 

1  Johnson's  Enff.  Diet. 

24th  Past.,  1.  101. 

5  In  Kirby's  Wonderful  Museum,  ii.  309,  there  is  an  article  on  the 
Death-watch,  headed  "A  curious  Description  and  Explanation  of  the 
Death-watch,  so  commonly  listened  to  with  such  dread." 


but  tick,  tick  I  The  house  was  a  huge  clock,  with  thousands 
of  pendulums  ticking  from  morning  till  night.  I  was  care- 
ful not  to  allow  my  great  discomfort  to  annoy  others.  I  ar- 
gued what  they  could  tolerate,  surely  I  could ;  and  in  a  few 
days  habit  had  rendered  the  fearful,  dreaded  ticking  a  posi- 
tive necessity."^ 

The  Death-watch  commences  its  clicking,  which  is  nothing 
more  than  the  call  or  signal  by  which  the  male  and  female 
are  led  to  each  other,  chiefly  when  spring  is  far  advanced. 
The  sound  is  thus  produced  :  Raising  itself  upon  its  hind 
legs,  with  the  body  somewhat  inclined,  it  beats  its  head  with 
great  force  and  agility  upon  the  plane  of  position.  The 
prevailing  number  of  distinct  strokes  which  it  beats  in  suc- 
cession is  from  seven  to  nine  or  eleven  ;  which  circumstance, 
thinks  Mr.  Shaw,  may  perhaps  still  add,  in  some  degree,  to 
the  ominous  character  which  it  bears.  These  strokes  follow 
each  other  quickly,  and  are  repeated  at  uncertain  intervals. 
In  old  houses,  where  these  insects  abound,  they  may  be  heard 
in  warm  weather  during  the  whole  day.^ 

Baxter,  in  his  World  of  Spirits,  p.  203,  most  sensibly 
observes,  that  "  there  are  many  things  that  ignorance  causeth 
multitudes  to  take  for  prodigies.  I  have  had  many  discreet 
friends  that  have  been  affrighted  with  the  noise  called  a 
Death-watch,  whereas  I  have  since,  near  three  years  ago,  oft 
found  by  trial  that  it  is  a  noise  made  upon  paper  by  a  little, 
nimble,  running  worm,  just  like  a  louse,  but  whiter  and 
quicker;  and  it  is  most  usually  behind  a  paper  pasted  to  a 
wall,  especially  to  wainscot;  and  it  is  rarely,  if  ever,  heard 
but  in  the  heat  of  summer."  Our  author,  however,  relapses 
immediately  into  his  honest  credulity,  adding  :  "  But  he  who 
can  deny  it  to  be  a  prodigy,  which  is  recorded  by  Melchior 
Adamus,  of  a  great  and  good  man,  who  had  a  clock-watch 
that  had  layen  in  a  chest  many  years  unused;  and  when  he 
lay  dying,  at  eleven  o'clock,  of  itself,  in  that  chest,  it  struck 
eleven  in  the  hearing  of  many." 

In  the  British  Apollo,  1710,  ii.  No.  86,  is  the  following 
query :  "  Why  Death-watches,  crickets,  and  weasels  do  come 
more  common  against  death  than  at  any  other  time  ?  A. 
We  look  upon  all  such  things  as  idle  superstitions,  for  were 

1  Harper's  Maff.,  xxiii.  775. 

■•'  Shaw,  Zool.,  vi.  34.     Nat.  Misc.,  iii.  104. 


anything  in  them,  bakers,  brewers,  inhabitants  of  old  houses, 
&c.,  were  in  a  melancholy  condition." 

To  an  inquiry,  ibid.  vol.  ii.  No,  70,  concerning  a  Death- 
watch,  whether  you  suppose  it  to  be  a  living  creature,  an- 
swer is  given  :  "  It  is  nothing  but  a  little  worm  in  the  wood." 

"  How  many  people  have  I  seen  in  the  most  terrible  pal- 
pitations, for  months  together,  expecting  every  hour  the 
approach  of  some  calamity,  only  by  a  little  worm,  which 
breeds  in  old  wainscot,  and,  endeavoring  to  eat  its  way  out, 
makes  a  noise  like  the  movement  of  a  watch  !"  Secret 
Memoirs  of  the  late  Mr.  Duncan  Campbell,  8vo.  Lond. 
1732,  p.  61.1 

Authors  were  formerly  not  agreed  concerning  the  insect 
from  which  this  sound  of  terror  proceeded,  some  attributing 
it  to  a  kind  of  wood-louse,  others  to  a  spider. 

M.  Peiguot  mentions  an  instance  where,  in  a  public 
library  that  was  but  little  frequented,  twenty-seven  folio 
volumes  were  perforated  in  a  straight  line  by  one  and  the 
same  larva  of  a  small  insect  {Anohium  pertiiiax  ov  A.  stria- 
turn  ?)  in  such  a  manner  that,  on  passing  a  cord  through  the 
perfectly  round  hole  made  by  the  insect,  these  twenty-seven 
volumes  could  be  raised  at  once.^ 

Bostrichidae — Typographer-beetles. 

The  Typographer -beetle,  Bostrichus  typographus,  is 
so  called  on  account  of  a  fancied  resemblance  between  the 
paths  it  erodes 'and  letters.  This  insect  bores  into  the  fir, 
and  feeds  upon  the  soft  inner  bark;  and  in  such  vast  num- 
bers that  80,000  are  sometimes  found  in  a  single  tree.  The 
ravages  of  this  insect  have  long  been  known  in  Germany 
under  the  name  of  Wu7^m  trokniss — decay  caused  by  worms; 
and  in  the  old  liturgies  of  that  country  the  animal  itself  is 
formally  mentioned  under  its  common  appellation,  The 
Turk.  About  the  year  1665,  this  pest  was  particularly 
prevalent  and  caused  incalculable  mischief.  In  the  begin- 
ning of  the  last  century  it  again  showed  itself  in  the  Hartz 
forests;    it  reappeared  in  1757,  redoubled  its  injuries  in 

1  Brand's  Pop.  Antiq..  iii.  22G-7. 

2  Home's  Introd.  to  Bibliog..^  i.  311. 


1709,  and  arrived  at  its  height  in  1783,  when  the  number  of 
trees  destroyed  by  it  in  the  above-mentioned  forests  alone 
was  calculated  at  a  million  and  a  half,  and  the  whole  num- 
ber of  insects  at  work  at  once  one  hundred  and  twenty 
thousand  millions.  The  inhabitants  were  threatened  with 
a  total  suspension  of  the  working  of  their  mines,  for  want 
of  fuel.  At  this  period  these  Bostrichi,  when  arrived  at 
their  perfect  state,  migrated  in  swarms  like  bees  into  Suabia 
and  Franconia.  At  length  a  succession  of  cold  and  moist 
seasons,  between  the  years  1784  and  1789,  very  sensibly 
diminished  the  numbers  of  this  scourge.  In  1790  it  again 
appeared,  however,  and  so  late  as  1796  there  was  great  rea- 
son to  fear  for  the  few  fir-trees  that  were  left.^ 

Cantharidae — Blister-flies. 

Many  species  of  this  family  of  insect  possess  strong  vesi- 
cating powers,  and  are  employed  externally  in  medicine  to 
produce  blisters,  and  internally  as  a  powerful  stimulant. 
Taken  internally,  Pliny  considered  them  a  poison,  and 
mentions  the  following  instance  of  their  causing  death  : 
Cossinus,  a  Roman  of  the  Equestrian  order,  well  known 
for  his  intimate  friendship  with  the  Emperor  Nero,  being 
attacked  with  lichen,  that  prince  sent  to  Egypt  for  a 
physician  to  cure  him ;  who  recommended  a  potion  pre- 
pared from  Cantharides,  and  the  patient  was  killed  in  con- 
sequence.^    But  there  is  no  doubt,  however,  Pliny  adds, 

1  Wilhelm's  Recr.from  Nat.  Hist.,  quot.  by  Latrielle,  Hist.  Nat,,  ix. 
194.    Quot.  by  Kii-b.  and  Sp.  Introd.,  i.  213.    Carpenter,  Zool.,  ii.  133. 

2  Brookes  informs  us  that  Dr.  Greenfield,  a  practitioner  in  Lon- 
don, was  sent  to  Newgate,  by  the  college,  for  having  given  Can- 
tharides inwardly.  This  happened  in  the  year  1698 ;  but  he  was 
soon  after  released,  by  a  superior  authority,  when  he  published  a 
work  upon  the  good  ett'ects  of  these  insects  taken  inwardly  for 
strangury,  and  other  disorders  of  the  kidneys  and  bladder.  We 
are  also  told  by  Ambrose  Parry,  that  a  courtezan,  having  invited  a 
young  man  to  supper,  had  seasoned  some  of  the  dishes  with  the 
powder  of  Cantharides,  Avhich  the  very  next  day  produced  such  an 
effect,  that  he  died  with  an  evacuation  of  blood,  which  the  physi- 
cians were  not  able  to  stop.  Many  other  instances  might  be 
brought,    continues   Brookes,  of  persons    that   have   been   either 


that  applied  externally  they  are  useful,  in  combination  with 
juice  of  Taminian  grapes,  and  the  suet  of  a  sheep  or  she- 
goat.  They  are  extremely  efficacious,  too,  continues  Pliny, 
for  the  cure  of  leprosy  and  lichens ;  and  act  as  an  emmena- 
gogue  and  diuretic,  for  which  last  reason  Hippocrates  used 
to  prescribe  them  for  dropsy.^ 

The  vesicatory  principle  of  the  Blister-fly  is  called  Can- 
tharidme,  and  has  been  ascertained  by  experiment  to  reside 
more  particularly  in  the  wings  than  in  other  parts  of  the 
body.  Our  officinal  insect  is  the  Gantharis  vesicatorHa  ; 
and  since  the  principal  supply  is  from  Spain,  we  call  them 
commonly  Spanish-flies.  In  Italy,  the  Mylahris  cichorii, 
a  native  of  the  south  of  Europe,  is  used  ;  and  the  M.jms- 
tulata,  a  native  of  China,  is  used  by  the  Chinese,  who  also 
export  it  to  Brazil,  where  it  is  the  only  species  employed. 
In  India  also  a  species  of  Meloe  is  used,^  possessing  all  the 
properties  of  the  Spanish -fly. 

At  one  time  in  Germany,  the  genus  Meloe — Oil-beetles 
(so  called  from  their  emitting  from  the  joints  of  the  legs  an 
oily  yellowish  hquor,  when  alarmed) — were  extolled  as  a 
specific  against  hydrophobia  ;  and  the  oil  which  is  expressed 
from  them  is  used  in  Sweden,  with  great  success,  in  the 
cure  of  rheumatism,  by  anointing  the  aff'ected  part.^  Dr. 
James  thus  enumerates  the  medicinal  virtues  of  these  in- 
sects :  "  The  Oil-beetle  (Scarabaeus  unctuosus  of  Schroder) 
is  much  of  the  nature  of  Cantharides,  forces  urine  and  blood, 
and  is  of  extraordinary  efficacy  against  the  bite  of  a  mad 
dog.  Taken  in  powder,  it  cures  the  vari,  or  wandering 
gout,  as  we  are  assured  by  Wierus.  The  liquor  is,  by 
some,  esteemed  of  efficacy  in  wounds;  it  is  an  ingredient 
also  in  plaisters  for  the  pestilential  bubo  and  carbuncle,  and 
in  antidotes ;  an  oil  is  prepared  by  infusion  of  the  Uving 

killed,  or  brought  to  death's  door,  by  a  wanton  use  of  these  Flies, 
which  had  been  given  them  privately,  with  a  design  to  cause  love. 
Some  go  so  far  as  to  affirm,  that  people  have  been  thrown  into  a 
fever,  only  by  sleeping  under  trees  on  which  were  a  great  number 
of  Cantharides;  and  Mr.  Boyle  informs  us,  after  autliors  worthy  of 
credit,  that  some  persons  have  felt  considerable  pains  about  the 
neck  of  the  bladder,  only  by  holding  Cantharides  in  their  hands. — 
Nat.  Hist,  of  Ins.,  p.  50-1. 

1  Pliny,  JVat.  Hist.,  xxix.  30. 

2  Asiatic  Res.,  v.  213. 

*  Baird's  Cxjclop.  of  Nat.  Sci. 


animals  in  common  oil,  which  some  use  instead  of  oil  of 
Scorpions."^  In  some  parts  of  Spain,  they  are  mingled 
with  the  Cantharides,  for  the  same  purposes  as  these  latter 
insects.  Farriers  also  employed,  in  some  cases,  oil  in  which 
these  insects  had  been  macerated.^ 

Pliny  tells  us  that  Cato  of  Utica  was  one  time  reproached 
for  selling  poison,  because  when  disposing  of  a  royal  prop- 
erty by  auction,  he  sold  a  quantity  of  Cantharides,  at  the 
price  of  sixty  thousand  sesterces.^ 

The  natives  of  Guiana  and  Jamaica  make  ear-rings  and 
other  ornaments  of  the  elytra,  or  wing-coverings,  of  the 
Gantharis  maxima;  the  brilliant  metallic  colors  of  which 
beetles,  says  Sloane,  sparkle  with  an  extraordinary  lustre, 
when  worn  by  the  Indians  dancing  in  the  sun.* 

Zoroaster  says,  that  "  Cantharides"  will  not  hurt  the 
vines,  if  you  macerate  some  in  oil,  and  apply  it  to  the  whet- 
stone on  which  you  are  going  to  set  your  pruning-knives.^ 

Cantharides  are  comparatively  rare  in  Germany ;  yet  we 
are  told  in  the  German  Ephemerides,  says  Brookes,  that  in 
June,  16G1,  there  were  found  about  the  town  of  Heldeshiem, 
such  a  great  number  of  them,  that  they  covered  all  the  wil- 
low-trees. Likewise  that  in  May,  1685,  when  the  sky  was 
serene  and  the  weather  mild,  a  great  number  of  Cantharides 
were  seen  to  settle  upon  a  privet-tree,  and  devour  all  the 
leaves ;  but  they  did  not  meddle  with  the  flowers.  We  are 
also  told  that  the  country  people  expect  the  return  of  these 
insects  every  seven  years.  It  is  very  certain,  adds  Brookes, 
that  such  a  number  of  these  insects  have  been  together  in  the 
air,  that  they  appeared  like  swarms  of  bees  ;  and  that  they 
have  so  disagreeable  smell,  that  it  may  be  perceived  a  great 
way  off,  especially  about  sunset,  though  they  are  not  seen 
at  that  time.  This  bad  smell  is  a  guide  for  those  who  make 
it  their  business  to  catch  them.® 

1  3Ied.  Diet. 

2  Cuvier,  An.  King. — Ins.,  i.  569. 
«  Pliny,  Nat.  Hist.,  xxix.  30.- 

*  Sloane,  Hist,  of  Jamaica,  ii.  206. 
^  Owen's  Geoponika,  ii.  156. 
«  Nat.  Hist,  of  Ins.,  p.  49. 


Tenebrionidse — Meal-worms. 

The  larv^  of  the  Tenebrio  violitor,  commonly  called 
Meal-worms,  which  are  found  in  carious  wood,  are  bred  by 
bird-fanciers,  to  feed  nightingales,  and  constitute  the  only 
bait  by  which  these  shy  birds  can  be  taken  :  a  fact  the  more 
curious  when  it  is  considered  that  the  nightingale,  in  a  state 
of  nature,  can  seldom  or  never  see  these  larvae.  They  are 
also  used  to  feed  cameleons  which  are  exhibited.^ 

Blapsidae — Church-yard  beetle,  etc. 

We  learn  from  Linnaeus  that  in  Sweden  the  appearance 
of  the  Church-yard  beetle,  Blaps  mortisaga,  produces  the 
most  violent  alarm  and  trepidation  among  the  people,  who, 
on  account  of  its  black  hue  and  strange  aspect,  regard  it 
as  the  messenger  of  pestilence  and  death.  Hence  is  this 
insect  called  mortisaga — the  prophesier  of  death.^ 

A  common  species  in  Egypt,  the  Blaps  sulcata,  is  made 
into  a  preparation  which  the  Egyptian  women  eat  with  the 
view  of  acquiring  what  they  esteem  a  proper  degree  of 
plumpness  !  The  beetle  they  broil  and  mash  up  in  clarified 
butter;  then  add  honey,  oil  of  sesame,  and  a  variety  of 
aromatics  and  spices  pounded  together.^  Fabricius  reports 
that  the  Turkish  women  also  eat  this  insect,  cooked  with 
butter,  to  make  them  fat.  He  also  tells  us  that  they  use  it 
in  Egypt  and  the  Levant,  as  a  remedy  for  pains  and  mala- 
dies in  the  ears,  and  against  the  bite  of  scorpions.*  Carsten 
Niebuhr  also  mentions  this  curious  practice  of  the  women 
of  Turkey,  and  adds,  the  women  of  Arabia  likewise  make 
use  of  these  insects  for  the  same  purpose,  taking  three  of 
them,  every  morning  and  evening,  fried  in  butter.^ 

The  Blatta  mentioned  by  Pliny  is  evidently,  from  his  de- 
scription, the  Church-yard  beetle,  Blaps  mortisaga,  instead 

1  Cuvier,  An.  Kingd. — Ins.,  i.  569. 

2  Linn.  Faun.  Suec,  p.  822. 

3  Lane's  3Iod.  Egypt.,  i.  237,  ii.  275. 
*  Cuvier,  An.  King. — Ins.,  i.  568. 

5  Pinkerton's  Voy.  and  Trav.,  x.  190. 



of  the  insect  we  now  call  by  that  name — the  Cockroach  : 
and  may  very  properly  be  here  introduced.  "There  is 
kind  of  fattinesse,"  says  this  author  in  the  words  of  his 
translator,  Philemon  Holland,  "to  bee  found  in  the  Flie  or 
insect  called  Blatta,  when  the  head  is  plucked  off,  which, 
if  it  be  punned  and  mixed  with  Oile  of  Roses,  is  (as  they 
say)  wonderful  good  for  the  ears :  but  the  wooll  wherein 
this  medicine  is  enwrapped,  and  which  is  put  into  the  ears, 
must  not  long  tarrie  there,  but  within  a  little  while  drawne 
forth  againe;  for  the  said  fat  will  very  soone  get  life  and 
prove  a  grub  or  little  worme.  Some  writers  there  be  who 
aflfirme,  that  two  or  three  of  these  flies  called  Blattae  sodden 
in  oile,  make  a  soveraigne  medicine  to  cure  the  eares,*and  if 
they  be  stamped  and  spread  upon  a  linen  rag  and  so  ap- 
plied, they  will  heale  the  eares,  if  they  be  hurt  by  any  bruise 
or  contusion  :  Certes  this  is  but  a  nastie  and  ill-favoured 
vermine,  howbeit  in  regard  of  the  manifold  and  admirable 
properties  which  naturally  it  hath,  as  also  of  the  Industrie 
of  our  auncestours  in  searching  out  the  nature  of  it,  I  am 
moved  to  write  thereof  at  large  and  to  the  full  in  this 
place.  For  they  have  described  many  kinds  of  them.  In 
the  first  place,  some  of  them  be  soft  and  tender,  which 
being  sodden  in  oile,  they  have  proved  by  experience  to  be 
of  great  efiBcacie  in  fetching  off  werts,  if  they  be  annointed 
therewith.  A  second  sort  there  is,  which  they  call  Myloe- 
con,  because  ordinarily  it  haunteth  about  mils  and  bake- 
houses, and  there  breedeth :  these  by  the  report  of  Muna 
and  Picton,  two  famous  Physicians,  being  bruised  (after 
their  heads  were  gone)  and  applied  to  a  bodie  infected  with 
the  leprosie,  cured  the  same  persitely.  They  of  a  third 
kind,  besides  that  they  bee  otherwise  ill-favoured  ynough, 
Carrie  a  loathsome  and  odious  smell  with  them  :  they  are 
sharp  rumped  and  pin  buttockt  also;  howbeit,  being  in- 
'  corporat  with  the  oile  of  pitch  called  Pisselason,  they  have 
healed  those  ulcers  which  were  thought  nunquam  sana,  and 
incurable.  Also  within  one  and  twenty  daies  after  this  pias- 
tre laid  too,  it  hath  been  knowne  to  cure  the  swelling  wens 
called  the  King's  evil :  the  botches  or  biles  named  Pani, 
wounds,  contusions,  bruises,  morimals,  scabs,  and  fellons : 
but  then  their  feet  and  wings  were  plucked  off  and  cast 
away.  I  make  no  doubt  or  question,  but  that  some  of  us 
are  so  daintie  and  fine-eared,  that  our  stomacke  riseth  at 
the  hearing  onely  of  such  medicines :  and  yet  I  assure  you, 


Diodorus,  a  renowned  Physician,  reporteth,  that  he  has 
given  these  foure  flies  inwardly  with  rozin  and  honey,  for 
the  jaundise,  and  to  those  that  were  so  streight-winded 

i  that  they  could  not  draw  their  breath  but  sitting  upright. 

i  See  what  libertie  and  power  over  us  have  these  Physicians, 
who  to  practise  and  trie  conclusions  upon  our  bodies,  may 
exhibit  unto  their  patients,  what  they  list,  be  it  never  so 
homely,  so  it  goe  under  the  name  of  a  medicine."^ 

The  following  extraordinary  case  of  insects  introduced 
into  the  human  stomach,  which  is  of  rare  occurrence,  has 
been  completely  authenticated,  both  by  medical  men  and 
competent  naturalists.  It  was  first  published  by  Dr. 
PickeTls,  of  Cork,  in  the  Dublin  Transactions.^ 

Mary  Riordan,  aged  28,  had  been  much  affected  by  the 

■  death  of  her  mother,  and  at  one  of  her  many  visits  to  the 
grave  seems  to  have  partially  lost  her  senses,  having  been 
found  lying  there  on  the  morning  of  a  winter's  day,  and 
having  been  exposed  to  heavy  rain  daring  the  night.  It 
appears  that  when  she  was  about  fifteen,  two  popular 
Catholic  priests  had  died,  and  she  was  told  by  some  old 
woman,  that  if  she  would  drink  daily,  for  a  certain  time,  a 
quantity  of  water,  mixed  with  clay  taken  from  their  graves, 
.^lio  would  be  forever  secure  from  disease  and  sin.  So  fol- 
lowing this  absurd  and  disgusting  prescription,  she  took 
irom  time  to  time  large  quantities  of  the  draught;  and, 
some  time  afterward,  being  atfected  with  a  burning  pain  in 
the  stomach  (cardialgia),  she  began  to  eat  large  pieces  of 
chalk,  which  she  sometimes  also  mixed  with  water  and 
drank.  In  all  these  draughts,  it  is  most  probable,  she 
swallowed  the  eggs  of  the  enormous  progenies  of  apterous, 
dipterous,  and  coleopterous  insects,  which  she  for  several 
years  continued  to  throw  up  alive  and  moving.  Dr.  Pickells 
asserts  that  altogether  he  himself  saw  nearly  2000  of  these 
larvae,  and  that  there  were  many  he  did  not  see,  for,  to  avoid 

I  publicity,  she  herself  destroyed  a  great  number,  and  many, 

!  too,  escaped  immediately  by  running  into  holes  in  the  floor. 
Of  this  incredible  number,  the  greatest  proportion  were 
larvae  of  the  Church-yard  beetle,  Blaps  mortlsaga,  and  of 
a  dipterous  insect,  an  Ascarides;  and  two  were  specimens 

1  Pliny,  Nat.  Hist.,  xxix.  6.     IIoll.,  p.  370.     - 

2  Trans,  of  Assoc.  Phys.  in  Ireland,  iv.,  vii.,  and  v.,  p.   177,  8vo. 
Uubliii,  l«:il-b. 


of  tlie  Meal-worm — the  larvae  of  the  Darkling — Tenebrio 
molitor.  It  may  be  interesting  to  learn  that,  by  means  of 
turpentine  in  large  doses,  this  unfortunate  woman  was  at 
length  entirely  rid  of  her  pests.^ 

Curculionidse — Weevils. 

At  Rio  Janeiro,  the  brilliant  .Diamond-beetle,  Euiimis 
nohilis,  is  in  great  request  for  brooches  for  gentlemen,  and 
ten  piasters  are  often  paid  for  a  single  specimen.  In  this 
city  many  owners  send  their  slaves  out  to  catch  insects,  so 
that  now  the  rarest  and  most  brilliant  species  are  to  be  had 
at  a  comparatively  trifling  sum.  Each  of  these  slaves,  when 
he  has  attained  to  some  adroitness  in  this  operation,  may, 
on  a  fine  day,  catch  in  the  vicinity  of  the  city  as  many  as 
five  or  six  hundred  beetles.  So  this  trade  is  considered 
there  very  lucrative,  since  six  milresis  (four  rix  dollars,  or 
about  fourteen  shillings)  are  paid  for  the  hundred.  For 
these  splendid  insects  there  is  a  general  demand ;  and  their 
wing-cases  are  now  sought  for  the  purpose  of  adorning  the 
ladies  of  Europe — a  fashion,  it  is  said,  which  threatens  the 
entire  extinction  of  this  beautiful  tribe.^ 

Messrs.  Kidder  and  Fletcher  tell  us  that  in  Brazil  "a 
commerce  is  carried  on  in  artificial  flowers  made  from 
beetles'  wings,  fish-scales,  sea-shells,  and  feathers,  which 
attract  the  attention  of  every  visitor.  These  are  made," 
they  continue,  "by  the  mulheres  (women)  of  almost  every 
class,  and  thus  the}'  obtain  not  only  pin-money,  but  some 
amass  wealth  in  the  traffic."^  Among  the  beetles  referred 
to  by  these  gentlemen  may  be  placed  no  doubt  the 
Eutimis  nohilU. 

Among  the  largest  of  the  species  of  this  family  is  the 
Palm-weevil,  Calandra  palmarum,  which  is  of  an  uni- 
form black  color,  and  measures  more  than  two  inches  in 

1  In  Kirby's  Wonderful  Museum,  iv.  300,  there  are  several  instances 
of  living  insects  being  found  in  the  human  stomach,  quite  as  extra- 
ordinary as  the  above. 

2  The  Mirror,  xxviii.  304. 
8  Hist,  of  Brazil,  p.  346. 


length.  Its  larva,  called  the  Grou-grou,^  or  Cabbage-tree 
worm,  which  is  ver}^  large,  Avhite,  of  an  oval  shape,  resides 
in  the  tenderest  part  of  the  smaller  palm-trees,  and  is  con- 
sidered, fried  or  broiled,  as  one  of  the  greatest  dainties  in 
the  West  Indies.  "The  tree,"  says  Madame  Merian, 
"grows  to  the  height  of  a  man,  and  is  cut  off  when  it  be- 
gins to  be  tender,  is  cooked  hke  a  cauliflower,  and  tastes 
better  than  an  artichoke.  In  the  middle  of  these  trees  live 
innumerable  quantities  of  worms,  which  at  first  are  as  small 
as  a  maggot  in  a  nut,  but  afterward  grow  to  a  very  large 
size,  and  feed  on  the  marrow  of  the  tree.  These  worms 
are  laid  on  the  coals  to  roast,  and  are  considered  as  a 
highly  agreeable  food."^  Capt.  Stedman  tells  us  these 
larvae  are  a  delicious  treat  to  many  people,  and  that  they 
are  regularly  sold  at  Paramaribo.  He  mentions,  too,  the 
manner  of  dressing  them,  which  is  by  frying  them  in  a  pan 
with  a  very  little  butter  and  salt,  or  spitting  them  on  a 
wooden  skewer;  and,  that  thus  prepared,  in  taste  they  par- 
take of  all  the  spices  of  India — mace,  cinnamon,  cloves,  nut- 
megs, etc.*  This  gentleman  also  says  he  once  found  con- 
cealed near  the  trunk  of  an  old  tree  a  "  case-bottle  filled 
with  excellent  butter,"  which  the  rangers  told  him  the  na- 
I  tives  made  by  melting  and  clarifying  the  fat  of  this  larva.* 
I  Dr.  Winterbottom  states  this  grub  is  served  up  at  all  the 
luxurious  tables  of  West  Indian  epicures,  particularly  of  the 
French,  as  the  greatest  dainty  of  the  western  w^orld.^ 

Dobrizhoflfer  doubtless  refers  to  the  larva  of  the  Galandra 
palmarum,  when  he  says:  "The  Spaniards  of  Santiago  in 
Tucuman,  when  they  go  seeking  honey  in  the  woods,  cleave 
certain  palm-trees  upon  their  way,  and  on  their  return  find 
large  grubs  in  the  wounded  trees,  which  they  fry  as  a  deli- 
cious food."^  The  same  is  said  of  the  Guaraunos  of  the 
Orinoco — "that  they  find  these  grubs  in  great  numbers  in 
the  palms,  which  they  cut  down  for  the  sake  of  their  juice. 
After  all  has  been  drawn  out  that  will  flow,  these  grubs 

1  Jamieson  gives  Grou-grou  as  a  Scottish  name  for  the  Corn-grub. 
-Scot.  Diet.,  iii.  510. 

2  Shaw,  ZooL,  vi.  62.     Cuvier,  An.  Kingd. — Ins.,  ii.  80. 
^  Stedm.  Surinam,  ii.  23. 

^  Ibid.,  ii.  115. 

5  AccL  of  the  Sierra  Leone  Africans,  i.  314,  note. 

6  Travels,  i.  410. 



breed  in  the  incisions,  and  the  trunk  produces,  as  it  were,  a 
second  crop.'" 

The  Creoles  of  the  Island  of  Barbados,  says  Schom- 
burgk,  consider  the  Grou-grou  worm  a  great  delicacy  when 
roasted,  and  say  it  resembles  in  taste  the  marrow  of  beef- 

Antonio  de  TTlloa,  in  his  Noticias  Ame.ricanas,  says  this 
grub  has  the  singular  property  of  producing  milk  in  women.^ 
The  Argentina,  the  historic  poem  of  Brazil,  adds  an  asser- 
tion which  is  more  certainly  fabulous,  viz.,  that  they  first 
become  butterflies,  and  then  mice.* 

They  have  a  similar  dainty  in  Java  in  the  larva  of  some 
large  beetle,  which  the  natives  call  Moutouke. — "A  thick, 
white  maggot  which  lives  in  wood,  and  so  eats  it  away,  that 
the  backs  of  chairs,  and  feet  of  drawers,  although  appar- 
ently sound,  are  frequently  rotten  within,  and  fall  into  dust 
when  it  is  least  expected.  This  creature  may  sometimes 
be  heard  at  work.  It  is  as  big  as  a  silk-worm,  and  very 
white,  ...  a  mere  lump  of  fat.  Thirty  are  roasted 
together  threaded  on  a  little  stick,  and  are  delicate  eating."^ 

Julian  speaks  of  an  Indian  king,  who,  for  a  dessert,  in- 
stead of  fruit  set  before  his  Grecian  guests  a  roasted  worm 
taken  from  a  plant,  probably  the  larva  of  the  Galandra  pal- 
marum,  a  native  of  Persia  and  Mesopotamia  as  well  as  of 
the  West  Indies,  which  he  says  the  Indians  esteemed  very 
delicious — a  character  that  was  confirmed  by  some  of  the 
Greeks  who  tasted  it.*' 

The  trunk  of  the  grass-tree,  or  black-boy,  Xanthorea 
arhorea,  when  beginning  to  decay,  furnishes  large  quantities 
of  maiTow-like  grubs,  which  are  considered  a  delicacy  by 
the  aborigines  of  Western  Australia.  They  have  a  fragrant, 
aromatic  flavor,  and  form  a  favorite  food  among  the  natives, 
either  raw  or  roasted.  They  call  them  Bardi.  They  are 
also  found  in  the  wattle-tree,  or  mimosa.  The  presence  of 
these  grubs  in  the  Xanthoi^ea  is  thus  ascertained :  if  the  top 
of  one  of  these  trees  is  observed  to  be  dead,  and  it  contain 

^Gummila,  i.  9.     See  also  Sontlicy's  ///W.  of  Brazil,  i.  110. 

2  Hist,  of  Barbados,  p.  04G. 

3  Entrctenimitnto,  vi.  <^W. 
*  Canto  iii. 

6  Sketches  of  Java,  310. 

6 /Elian,  ILsi.  L.  xiv.  c.  13. 



any  bardi,  a  few  sharp  kicks  given  to  it  with  the  foot  will 
cause  it  to  crack  and  shake,  when  it  is  pushed  over  and  tlie 
grubs  taken  out,  by  breaking  the  tree  to  pieces  with  a  ham- 
mer. The  bardi  of  the  Xanthorea  are  small,  and  found 
together  in  great  numbers;  those  of  the  wattle  are  cream- 
colored,  as  long  and  thick  as  a  man's  finger,  and  are  found 

Dr.  Livingstone  states  that  in  the  valley  of  Quango,  S. 
Africa,  the  natives  dig  large  white  larvae  out  of  the  damp 
soil  adjacent  to  their  streams,  and  use  them  as  a  relish  to 
their  vegetable  diet.'^ 

In  the  latter  part  of  the  eighteenth  century,  there  was 
published  at  Florence,  by  Prof.  Gergi,  the  history  of  a  re- 
markable insect  which  he  names  Gurculio  anti-odontalgicus. 
This  insect,  as  he  assures  us,  not  only  in  the  name  he  has 
given  it,  but  also  in  an  account  of  the  many  cures  effected 
by  it,  is  endowed  with  the  singular  property  of  curing  the 
toothache.  He  tells  us,  that  if  fourteen  or  fifteen  of  the 
larviB  be  rubbed  between  the  thumb  and  fore-finger,  till  the 
fluid  is  absorbed,  and  if  a  carious  aching  tooth  be  but 
touched  with  the  thumb  or  finger  thus  prepared,  the  pain 
will  be  removed ;  a  finger  thus  prepared,  he  says  in  conclu- 
I  sion,  will,  unless  it  be  used  for  tooth-touching,  retain  its 
virtue  for  a  year  !  This  remarkable  insect  is  only  found  on 
a  nondescript  plant,  the  Carduus  i^pmosis-simus.^ 

It  is  said,  also  by  Prof.  Gergi,  that  the  Tuscan  peasants 
have  long  been  acquainted  with  several  insects  which  fur- 
nish a  charm  for  the  toothache,  as  the  Gurculio  jsecac,  0. 
Bacchus,  and  Carahus  chrysocephaluo. 

The  curious  facts  contained  in  the  following  quotation, 
from  Chambers'  Book  of  Days,  were  among  the  first  that 
led  me  to  attempt  the  present  compilation.  The  scientific 
name  of  the  insect  here  mentioned  is,  in  the  opinion  of 
Prof.  Gill  and  other  scientists,  a  misprint  for  Rhynchitus 
auratus,  and,  following  this  decision,  I  have  here  placed  it 
under  the  Curculionidde. — "A  lawsuit  between  the  inhab- 
itants of  the  Commune  of  St.  Julien  and  a  coleopterous  in- 
sect, now  known  to  naturalists  as  the  Eynchitus  aui^eus, 

1  Simmond's  Curiosities  of  Food,  p.  313. 

2  Travels  and  Researches  in  S.  Africa,  p.  389. 

3  Monthly  Mag.  ii    (Pt.  II.)  702,  for  1796. 


lasted  for  more  than  forty-two  years.  At  length  the  inhab- 
itants proposed  to  compromise  the  matter  by  giving,  up,  in 
perpetuity,  to  the  insects,  a  fertile  part  of  the  district  for 
their  sole  use  and  benefit.  Of  course  the  advocate  of  the 
animals  demurred  to  the  proposition,  but  the  court,  over- 
ruling the  demurrer,  appointed  assessors  to  survey  the  land, 
and,  it  proving  to  be  well  wooded  and  watered,  and  every 
way  suitable  for  the  insects,  ordered  the  conveyance  to  be 
engrossed  in  due  form  and  executed.  The  unfortunate 
people  then  thought  they  had  got  rid  of  a  trouble  imposed 
upon  them  by  their  litigious  fathers  and  grandfathers;  but 
they  were  sadly  mistaken.  It  was  discovered  that  there  had 
formerly  been  a  mine  or  quarry  of  an  ochreous  earth,  used 
as  a  pigment,  in  the  land  conveyed  to  the  insects,  and  though 
the  quarry  had  long  since  been  worked  out  and  exhausted, 
some  one  possessed  an  ancient  right  of  way  to  it,  which  if 
exercised  would  be  greatly  to  the  annoyance  of  the  new  pro- 
prietors. Consequently  the  contract  was  vitiated,  and  the 
whole  process  commenced  de  novo.  How  or  when  it  ended, 
the  mutilation  of  the  recording  documents  prevents  us 
from  knowing;  but  it  is  certain  that  the  proceediugs  com- 
menced in  the  year  1445,  and  that  they  had  not  concluded 
in  14vS7.  So  what  with  the  insects,  the  lawyers,  and  the 
church,  the  poor  inhabitants  must  have  been  pretty  well 
fleeced.  During  the  whole  period  of  a  process,  religious 
processions  and  other  expensive  ceremonies  that  had  to  be 
well  paid  for,  were  strictly  enjoined.  Besides,  no  district 
could  commence  a  process  of  this  kind  unless  all  its  arrears 
of  tithes  were  paid  up  ;  and  this  circumstance  gave  rise  to 
the  well-known  French  legal  maxim — 'The  first  step  toward 
getting  rid  of  locusts  is  the  payment  of  tithes?'  an  adage 
that  in  all  probability  was  susceptible  of  more  meanings 
than  one."^ 

Cerambycidse — Musk  beetles. 

Moufet  says:  "The  Cerambyx,  knowing  that  his  legs 
are  weak,  twists  his  horns  about  the  brancli  of  a  tree,  and 
so  he  hangs  at  ease They  thrust  upon  us  some 

'  Book  of  Days,  i. 


German  fables,  as  many  as  say  it  flies  only,  and  when  it  is 
weary  it  falls  to  the  earth  and  presently  dies.  Those  that 
are  slaves  to  tales,  render  this  reason  for  it :  Terarabus,  a 
satyrist,  did  not  abstain  from  quipping  of  the  Muses,  where- 
upon they  transformed  him  into  a  beetle  called  Cerambyx, 
and  that  deservedly,  to  endure  a  double  punishment,  for  he 
hath  legs  weak  that  he  goes  lame,  and  like  a  thief  he  hangs 
on  a  tree.  Antonius  Libealis,  lib.  i.  of  his  Metamorphosis, 
relates  the  matter  in  these  words :  The  Muses  in  anger 
transformed  Terambus  because  he  reproached  them,  and  he 
was  made  a  Cerambyx  that  feeds  on  wood,"  etc.^ 

A  large  species  of  longicorn  beetles,  the  Acanthocinus 
sedilis,  is  the  well-known  Timerman  of  Sweden  and  Lap- 
land; an  insect  which  the  natives  of  these  countries  regard 
with  a  kind  of  superstitious  veneration.  Its  presence  is 
thought  to  be  the  presage  of  good  fortune,  and  it  is  as  care- 
fully protected  and  cherished  as  storks  are  by  the  peasantry 
of  the  Low  Countries.^ 

It  has  been  found  that  the  common  cinnamon-colored 
Musk-beetle,  Cerambyx  moachatus,  when  dried  and  re- 
duced to  powder,  and  made  use  of  as  a  vesicatory,  in  the 
manner  of  the  officinal  Cantharides,  produces  a  similar 
effect,  and  in  as  short  a  space  of  time.^ 

The  Prionus  dnmicornis  is  a  native  of  many  parts  of 
America  and  the  West  Indies,  where  its  larva,  a  grub  about 
three  and  a  half  inches  in  length,  and  of  the  thickness  of 
the  little  finger,  is  in  great  request  as  an  article  of  food, 
being  considered  by  epicures  as  one  of  the  greatest  delica- 
cies of  the  New  World.  W^e  are  informed  by  authors  of 
the  highest  respectability,  that  some  people  of  fortune  in  the 
West  Indies  keep  negroes  for  the  sole  purpose  of  going  into 
the  woods  in  quest  of  these  admired  larvae,  who  scoop  them 
out  of  the  trees  in  which  they  reside.  Dr.  Browne,  in  his 
History  of  Jamaica,  informs  us  that  they  are  chiefly  found 
in  the  plum  and  silk-cotton  trees  (Bomhax).  They  are 
commonly  called  by  the  name  of  Macauco,  or  Macokkos. 
The  mode  of  dressing  them  is  first  to  open  and  wash 
them,  and  then  carefully  broil  them  over  a  charcoal  fire.* 

1  Tieatr.  Ins.,  p.  151.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  1007. 

2  The  Mirror,  xxxiii.  202,  note. 

3  Drury,  Ins.,  i.  9  (Pref.).     Shaw's   ZooL,  vi.  73. 

4  Sliaw's  ZooL,  vi.  71-2.     Merian,  Ins.  Sur.,  24. 


Sir  Hans  Sloane  tells  us  the  Indians  of  Jamaica  boil  them 
in  their  soup;^,  pottages,  olios,  and  pepper-pots,  and  account 
them  of  delicious  flavor,  much  like,  but  preferable  to,  mar- 
row; and  the  negroes  of  this  island  roast  them  slightly  at 
the  fire,  and  eat  them  with  bread. ^ 

A  similar  larva  is  dressed  at  Mauritius  under  the  name  of 
3Ioulac,  which  the  whites  as  well  as  the  negroes  eat  greedily.-^ 
According  to  Linnaeus,  the  larva  of  the  Frionus  cermcor- 
nis  is  held  in  equal  estimation  ;  and  that  of  the  Acanf/wci- 
nus  tribulus  when  roasted  forms  an  article  of  food  in 

The  Cosms  of  Pliny  belonged  most  probably  to  this 
tribe,  or  to  the  Lucanidae. 

Wanley  knew  a  nun  in  the  monastery  of  St.  Clare,  who 
at  the  sight  of  a  beetle  was  affected  in  the  following  strange 
manner.  It  happened  that  some  young  girls,  knowing  her 
disposition,  threw  a  beetle  into  her  bosom,  which  when  she 
perceived,  she  immediately  fell  into  a  swoon,  deprived  of  all 
sense,  and  remained  four  hours  in  cold  sweats.  She  did  not 
regain  her  strength  for  many  days  after,  but  continued  trem- 
bling and  pale.* 

Galerucidae — Turnip-fly,  etc. 

The  striped  Turnip-beetle,  Hallica  nemorum,  com- 
monly called  the  Turnip-jiy,  Turnip-flea,  Earthflea- 
beeile,  Blackjack,  etc.,  is  a  well  known  species  from  the 
ravages  the  ])erfect  insect  commits  upon  the  turnip.  In 
Devonshire,  England,  in  the  year  1786,  the  loss  caused  by 
these  insects  alone  was  valued  at  £100,000  sterling.  And 
in  the  spring  of  1837,  the  vines  in  the  neighborhood  of 
Montpellier  were  attacked  to  so  great  an  extent  by  another 
species,  Hallica  olei^acea,  in  the  perfect  state,  that  fears 
were  entertained  for  the  plants,  and  religious  processions 
were  instituted  for  the  purpose  of  exorcising  the  insects.^ 

1  Hist,  of  Jamaica,  ii.  193-4. 

2  St..  Pierre,   Vwy  ,  72. 

3  Smeatham,  32.     Kirb.  and  Sp.  Introd.,  i.  303. 
*   Wonders,  i.  18. 

^Cui'tis,  Farm  Ins.,  p.  22.     Baird's  Cyclop,  of  Nat.  Sci. 


Anatolius  says  that  if  the  seeds  of  radishes,  turnips,  and 
other  esculents  be  sown  in  the  hide  of  a  tortoise,  the  plants 
when  grown  will  not  be  eaten  by  the  fly,  nor  hurt  by  nox- 
ious animals  or  birds. ^  Paladius  has  also  related  the  method 
of  drying  the  seeds  in  the  hide  of  this  animal,^  and  of  sowing 

1  Owen's  Geoponika,  ii.  98. 

2  Probably  the  coriaceous  tortoise,  wliich  is  covered  with  a  sti 

3  Paladius,  B.  i.  c.  35. 



Forficulidae — Ear-wigs. 

The  vulgar  opiiiion  that  the  Ear-wig,  Forficula  auricu- 
laria,  seeks  to  introduce  itself  into  the  ear  of  human  beings, 
and  causes  much  injury  to  that  organ,  is  very  ancient,  but 
not  founded  on  fact,  for  they  are  perfectly  harmless.  To 
this  opinion  the  names  of  this  insect  in  almost  all  European 
languages  point :  as  in  English,  Ear-wig  (from  Anglo-Saxon 
eare,  the  ear,  and  tvigga,  a  worm ;  hence,  also,  our  word 
wiggle),  in  French,  Perce-oreille,  and  in  the  German,  Ohr- 
wurm.  But,  according  to  some  writers,  these  names  arose 
from  the  shape  of  the  wing  when  expanded,  which  then  re- 
sembles the  human  ear;  and  eai^-wig  might  easily  be  a  cor- 
ruption of  ear-wing. 

Swift,  in  the  following  lines,  introduces  an  "Ear-wig, 
(probably  a  Curculio)  in  a  plum,"  as  though  in  allusion  to] 
some  superstition : 

Doll  never  flies  to  cut  Ler  lace, 
Or  throw  cold  water  in  her  face, 
Because  she  heard  a  sudden  drum, 
Or  found  an  ear- wig  in  a  plum. 

"  Oil  of  Ear-wigs,"  says  Dr.  James,  "is  good  to  strengthen 
the  nerves  under  convulsive  motions,  by  rubbing  it  on  the 
temples,  wrists,  and  nostrils.  These  insects,  being  dried, 
pulverized,  and  mixed  with  the  urine  of  a  hare,  are  esteemed 
to  be  good  for  deafness,  being  introduced  into  the  ear."^ 

In  August,  1755,  in  the  parishes  adjacent  to  Stroud,  it  is  said 
there  were  such  quantities  of  Ear-wigs,  that  they  destroyed 
not  only  the  fruits  and  flowers,  but  the  cabbages,  though  of 
full  growth.  The  houses,  especially  the  old  wooden  build- 
ings, were  swarming  with  them :  the  cracks  and  crevices 

1  Med.  Diet. 


surprisinf?ly  full,  so  that  they  dropped  out  oftentimes  in 
such  multitudes  as  to  literally  cover  the  floor.  Linen,  of 
which  they  are  fond,  was  likewise  full,  as  was  the  furniture; 
and  it  was  with  caution  any  provisions  could  be  eaten,  for 
the  cupboards  and  safes  flocked  with  these  little  pests.^ 

1  Gent.  Mag.,  xxv.  376. — Some  authors  assert  that  Ear-wigs  are 
not  in  the  least  injurious  to  vegetation. 



Blattidae — Cockroaches. 

Sloane  tells  us  the  Indians  of  Jamaica  drink  the  ashes 
of  Cockroaches  in  physic  :  bruise  and  mix  them  with  sugar 
and  apply  them  to  ulcers  and  cancers  to  suppurate  ;  and 
are  said  also  to  give  them  to  kill  worms  in  children.^  Dr. 
James,  quoting  Dioscorides,  Lib.  II.  cap.  38,  remarks: 
"The  inside  of  the  Blatta  (B.foetida,  Monf  138),  which 
is  found  in  bake-houses,  bruised  or  boiled  in  oil,  and  dropped 
into  the  ears,  eases  the  pains  thereof  "^  It  is  most  probable 
the  insect  now  called  Blatta  is  not  at  all  meant  by  either  of 
the  above  gentlemen.  The  Blatta  of  Dioscorides  is  quite 
likely  the  Blatta  of  Pliny,  which  has  been  with  good  reason 
conjectured  to  be  the  modern  Blaps  mortisaga — the  com- 
mon Church -yard  beetle. 

In  England,  the  hedge-hog,  Erinaceus  Europaeus, 
from  its  fondness  for  insects  and  its  nocturnal  habits,  is 
often  kept  domesticated  in  kitchens  to  destroy  the  Cock- 
roaches with  which  they  are  infested  ;  and  the  housekeepers 
of  Jamaica,  as  we  are  informed  by  Sir  Hans  Sloane,  for  the 
same  reasons  and  purpose,  keep  large  spiders  in  their 
houses.^  A  species  of  monkey,  Simia  jacchus,  and  a 
species  of  lemur,  L.  iardigradus,  are  also  made  use  of  for 
destroying  these  insects,  especially  on  board  ships. '^  Mr. 
Neill,  in  the  Magazine  of  Natural  History,  in  his  account 
of  the  above-mentioned  species  of  monkey,  says :  "  By  chance 
we  observed  it  devouring  a  large  Cockroach,  which  it  had 
caught  running  along  the  deck  of  the  vessel;  and,  from  this 
time  to  nearly  the  end  of  the  voyage,  a  space  of  four  or  five 

1  Hist,  of  Jam.,  ii.  204. 

2  Med.  Diet. 

3  Ilist.  of  Jam  ,  ii.  204. 

*  Baird's  Cyclop,  of  Nat.  Set. 



weeks,  it  fed  almost  exclusively  on  these  insects,  and  con- 
tributed most  effectually  to  rid  the  vessel  of  them.  It  fre- 
quently ate  a  score  of  the  largest  kind,  which  are  from  two 
to  two  and  a  half  inches  long,  and  a  very  great  number  of 
the  smaller  ones,  three  or  four  times  in  the  course  of  the 
day.  It  was  quite  amusing  to  see  it  at  its  meal.  When 
he  had  got  hold  of  one  of  the  largest  Cockroaches,  he  held 
it  in  his  fore-paws,  and  then  invariably  nipped  the  head  off 
first ;  he  then  pulled  out  the  viscera  and  cast  them  aside, 
and  devoured  the  rest  of  the  body,  rejecting  the  dry  elytra 
and  wings,  and  also  the  legs  of  the  insect,  which  are  covered 
with  short  stiff  bristles.  The  small  Cockroaches  he  ate 
^without  such  fastidious  nicety."^ 

The  common  Cockroach,  or  Black-beetle,  as  it  is  some- 
times vulgarly  called,  the  Blatta  orientalis,  is  said  origi- 
nally to  be  a  native  of  India,  and  introduced  here,  as  well 
as  in  everj  other  part  of  the  civilized  globe,  through  the 
medium  of  commerce.  In  England,  another  species,  said 
to  be  a  native  of  America,  Blatla  Americana^  larger  than 
the  last,  is  now  also  becoming  very  common,  especially  in 
seaport  towns  where  merchandise  is  stored.^ 

An  old  Swede,  Luen  Laock,  one  of  the  first  Swedish 
clergymen  that  came  to  Pennsylvania,  told  the  traveler 
Kalm,  that  in  his  younger  days,  he  had  once  been  very 
much  frightened  by  a  Cockroach,  which  crept  into  his  ear 
while  he  was  asleep.  Waking  suddenly,  he  jumped  out  of 
bed,  which  caused  the  insect,  most  probably  out  of  fear,  to 
strive  with  all  its  strength  to  get  deeper  into  his  skull,  pro- 
ducing such  excruciating  pain  that  he  imagined  his  head 
was  bursting,  and  he  almost  fell  senseless  to  the  floor. 
Hastening,  however,  to  the  well,  he  drew  a  bucket  of  water, 
and  threw  some  in  his  ear.  The  Roach  then  finding  itself 
in  danger  of  being  drowned,  quickly  pushed  out  backward, 
and  as  quickly  delivered  the  poor  Swede  from  his  pain  and 
fears. ^ 

The  proverbial  expression  "Sound  as  a  Roach"  is  sup- 

1  Quot.  by  Samouffle,  Ent.  Cab.,  1-8. 

2  Baird's  Cyclop,  of  Nat.  Sci. 

3  Pinkei't oil's  Voy.  and  Trav.,  xiii.  108.  A  beetle,  insinuating 
itself  in  the  ear  of  Captain  Speke  when  in  Central  Africa,  caused 
him  the  greatest  pain  imaginable.  It  was  six  or  seven  months  be- 
fore all  tlie  pieces  of  it  were  extracted. — Blackwood' s  Mag.,  Sept. 
1859.     Barth's  Central  Africa,  ii.  91,  note. 


posed  to  have  been  derived  from  familiarity  with  the  legend 
and  attributes  of  the  Saint  Roche, — the  esteemed  saint  of 
all  afflicted  with  the  plague,  a  disease  of  common  occurrence 
in  England  when  the  streets  were  narrow,  and  without 
sewers,  houses  without  boarded  floors,  and  our  ancestors 
without  hnen.  They  believed  that  the  miraculous  St. 
Roche  could  make  them  as  "sound"  as  himself^ 

A  quite  common  superstitious  practice,  in  order  to  rid  a 
house  of  Cockroaches,  is  in  vogue  in  our  country  at  the 
present  time.  It  is  no  other  than  to  address  these  pests  a 
written  letter  containing  the  following  words,  or  to  this 
effect:  "0,  Roaches,  you  have  troubled  me  long  enough, 
go  now  and  trouble  my  neighbors."  This  letter  must  b^ 
put  where  they  most  swarm,  after  sealing  and  going  through 
with  the  other  customary  forms  of  letter  writing.  It  is 
well,  too,  to  write  legibly  and  punctuate  according  to  rule. 

Another  receipt  for  driving  away  Cockroaches  is  as  fol- 
lows :  Close  in  an  envelope  several  of  these  insects,  and 
drop  it  in  the  street  unseen,  and  the  remaining  Roaches  will 
all  go  to  the  finder  of  the  parcel. 

It  is  also  said  that  if  a  looking-glass  be  held  before 
Roaches,  they  will  be  so  frightened  as  to  leave  the  prem- 

A  firm,  which  has  been  established  in  London  for  seven 
years,  and  which  manufactures  exclusively  poison  known 
to  the  trade  as  the  "Phosphor  Paste  for  the  Destruction  of 
Black-beetles,  Cockroaches,  rats,  mice,"  etc.,  has  given  to 
Mr.  Mayhew  the  following  information  : 

"We  have  now  sold  this  vermin  poison  for  seven  years, 
but  we  have  never  had  an  application  for  our  composition 
from  any  street-seller.  We  have  seen,  a  Year  or  two  since, 
a  man  about  London  who  used  to  sell  beetle-wafers ;  but 
as  we  knew  that  kind  of  article  to  be  entirely  useless,  we 
were  not  surprised  to  find  that  he  did  not  succeed  in  making 
a  living.  We  have  not  heard  of  him  for  some  time,  and 
have  no  doubt  he  is  dead,  or  has  taken  up  some  other  line 
of  employment. 

"  It  is  a  strange  fact,  perhaps ;  but  we  do  not  know  any- 
thing, or  scarcely  anything,  as  to  the  kind  of  people  and 
tradesmen  who  purchase  our  poison — to  speak  the  truth,  we 
do  not  like  to  make  too  many  inquiries  of  our  customers. 

1  Hone's  Eoery  Day  Book,  i.  1121. 


Sometimes,  when  they  have  used  more  than  their  custom- 
ary quantity,  we  have  asked,  casually,  how  it  was  and  to 
what  kind  of  business  people  they  disposed  of  it,  and  we 
have  always  met  with  an  evasive  sort  of  answer.  You  see 
tradesmen  don't  like  to  divul^re  too  much  ;  for  it  must  be  a 
poor  kind  of  profession  or  calling  that  there  are  no  secrets 
in ;  and,  again,  they  fancy  we  want  to  know  what  descrip- 
tion of  trades  use  the  most  of  our  composition,  so  that  we 
might  supply  them  direct  from  ourselves.  From  this  cause 
we  have  made  a  rule  not  to  inquire  curiously  into  the  mat- 
ters of  our  customers.  We  are  quite  content  to  dispose  of 
the  quantity  we  do,  for  we  employ  six  travelers  to  call  on 
chemists  and  oilmen  for  tlie  town  trade,  and  four  for  the 

''  The  other  day  an  elderly  lady  from  High  Street,  Cam- 
den Town,  called  upon  us :  she  stated  that  she  was  over- 
run with  black  beetles,  and  wished  to  buy  some  of  our 
paste  from  ourselves,  for  she  said  she  always  found  things 
better  if  you  purchased  them  of  the  maker,  as  you  were 
sure  to  get  them  stronger,  and  by  that  means  avoided  the 
adulteration  of  the  shopkeepers.  But  as  we  have  said  we 
would  not  supply  a  single  box  to  any  one,  not  wishing  to 
give  our  agents  any  cause  for  complaint,  we  were  obliged 
to  refuse  to  sell  to  the  old  lady. 

"  We  don't  care  to  say  how  many  boxes  we  sell  in  the 
year;  but  we  can  tell  you,  sir,  that  we  sell  more  for  beetle 
poisoning  in  the  summer  than  in  the  winter,  as  a  matter  of 
course.  When  we  find  that  a  particular  district  uses  almost 
an  equal  quantity  all  the  year  round,  we  make  sure  that 
that  is  a  rat  district ;  for  where  there  is  not  the  heat  of 
summer  to  breed  beetles,  it  must  follow  that  the  people 
wish  to  get  rid  of  rats. 

"Brixton,  Hackney,  Ball's  Pond,  and  Lower  Road,  Is- 
lington, are  the  places  that  use  most  of  our  paste,  those 
districts  lying  low,  and  being  consequently  damp.  Camden 
Town,  though  it  is  in  a  high  situation,  is  very  much  infested 
with  beetles;  it  is  a  clayey  soil,  you  understand,  which  re- 
tains moisture,  and  will  not  allow  it  to  filter  through  like 
gravel.  This  is  why  in  some  very  low  districts,  where  the 
houses  are  built  on  gravel,  we  sell  scarcely  any  of  our 

"As  the  farmers  say,  a  good  fruit  year  is  a  good  fly 


year;  so  we  say,'  a  good  dull,  wet  summer,  is  a  good  beetle 
summer ;  and  this  has  been  a  very  fertile  year,  and  we  only 
hope  it  will  be  as  good  next  year. 

''  We  don't  believe  in  rat-destroyers ;  they  profess  to  kill 
with  weasels  and  a  lot  of  things,  and  sometimes  even  say 
they  can  charm  them  away.  Captains  of  vessels,  when 
they  arrive  in  the  docks,  will  employ  these  people ;  and,  as 
we  say,  they  generally  use  our  composition,  but  as  long  as 
their  vessels  are  cleared  of  the  vermin,  they  don't  care  to 
know  how  it  is  done.  A  man  who  drives  about  in  a  cart, 
and  does  a  great  business  in  this  way,  we  have  reason  to 
believe  uses  a  great  quantity  of  our  Phosphor  Paste.  He 
comes  from  somewhere  down  the  East-end  or  Whitechapel 

"Our  prices  are  too  high  for  the  street-sellers.  Your 
street-seller  can  only  afford  to  sell  an  article  made  by  a 
person  in  but  a  very  little  better  position  than  himself 
Even  our  small  boxes  cost  at  the  trade  price  two  shillings 
a  dozen,  and  when  sold  will  o*ily  produce  three  shillings; 
so  you  can  imagine  the  profit  is  not  enough  for  the  itinerant 

"Bakers  don't  use  much  of  our  paste,  for  they  seem  to 
think  it  no  use  to  destroy  the  vermin — beetles  and  bakers' 
shops  generally  go  together."^ 

If  a  black  beetle  enters  your  room,  or  flies  against  you, 
severe  illness  and  perhaps  death  will  soon  follow.  I  have 
never  heard  this  superstition  but  in  Maryland. 

Mantidae — Soothsayers,  etc. 

We  now  come  to  a  very  extraordinary  family  of  insects, 
the  Mantidae.  "Imagination  itself,"  as  Dr.  Shaw  well  ob- 
serves, "can  hardly  conceive  shapes  more  strange  than  those 
exhibited  by  some  particular  species."^  "  They  are  called 
Mantes;  that  is,  fortune-tellers,"  says  Moufifet,  "either  be- 
cause by  their  coming  (for  they  first  of  all  appear)  they  do 

1  London  Labor  and  London  Poor,  iii.  40-1. 
^  Zool,  vi.  118. 


show  the  spring  to  be  at  hand,  as  Anacreon,  the  poet,  sang  ; 
or  else  they  foretell  death  and  famine,  as  Caelias,  the  scholiast 
of  Theocritus,  writes  ;  or,  lastly,  because  it  always  holds  up 
its  fore-feet,  like  hands,  praying,  as  it  were,  after  the  man- 
ner of  their  divines,  who  in  that  gesture  did  pour  out  their 
supplications  to  their  gods.  So  divine  a  creature  is  this 
esteemed,  that  if  a  childe  aske  the  way  to  such  a  place,  she 
will  stretch  out  one  of  her  feet  and  show  him  the  right  way, 
and  seldome  or  never  misse.  As  she  resembleth  those  di- 
viners in  the  elevation  of  her  hands,  so  also  in  likeness  of 
motion,  for  they  do  not  sport  themselves  as  others  do,  nor 
leap,  nor  play,  but  walking  softly  she  returns  her  modesty, 
and  showes  forth  a  kind  of  mature  gravity."^ 

The  name  3Iantis  is  of  Greek  origin,  and  signifies  di- 
viner. In  one  of,  the  Idylls  of  Theocritus,  however,  it  is 
employed  to  designate  a  thin,  young  girl,  with  slender  and 
elongated  arms.  Praemacram  ac pertenuem puellam  /ur^rcv. 
Corpore  praelongo,  pedibus  eiiam  prselongis,  locustee  genus. 

These  insects.  Mantis  oratoria,  religiosa,  etc.,  in  con- 
sequence of  their  having,  as  Mouffet  says,  their  fore-feet  ex- 
tended as  if  they  were  praying,  are  called  in  France,  Devin, 
and  Prega-diou  or  Preclie-dieu ;  and  with  us,  Praying- 
insects,  Soothsayers,  and  Diviners.  They  are  also  often 
called  from  their  singular  shape  Camel-crickets. 

The  Mantis  was  observed  by  the  Greeks  in  soothsaying  ;2 
and  the  Hindoos  displayed  the  same  reverential  considera- 
tion of  its  movements  and  flight.^ 

But,  in  modern  times,  the  superstition  respecting  the 
sanctity  of  the  Mantis  begins  in  Southern  Europe,  and  is 
found  in  almost  every  other  quarter  of  the  globe,  at  least 
wherever  a  characteristic  species  of  the  insect  is  found. 

In  the  southern  provinces  of  France,  where  the  Mantis 
is  very  abundant,  both  the  characters  of  praying  and  point- 
ing out  the  lost  way,  as  above  mentioned  by  Mouifet,  are 
still  ascribed  to  it  by  the  peasantry,  as  is  evidenced  by  the 
above  mentioned  names  they  know  them  by.  And  here,  as 
wherever  else  this  superstition  obtains,  it  is  considered  a 
great  crime  to  injure  the  Mantis,  and  as,  at  least,  a  very 

1  Theat.  Ins.,  p.  988. 

2  Harwood,  Grec.  Aniiq.,  p.  200. 

3  Cbamb.  Journ.,  xi.  362,  2d  S. 


culpable  neo^lect  not  to  place  it  out  of  the  way  of  any  dan- 
ger to  which  it  seems  exposed. 

The  Turks  and  other  Moslems  have  been  much  impressed 
by  the  actions  of  the  common  Mantis,  the  religiosa,^  which 
greatly  resemble  some  of  their  own  attitudes  of  prayer. 
They  readily  recognize  intelligence  and  pious  intentions  in 
its  actions,  and  accordingly  treat  it  with  respect  and  atten- 
tion, not  indeed  as  in  itself  an  object  of  reverence  or  super- 
stition, but  as  a  fellow-worshiper  of  God,  whom  they  be- 
lieve that  all  creatures  praise,  with  more  or  less  conscious- 
ness and  intelligence.'^ 

But  it  is  in  Africa,  and  especially  in  Southern  Africa, 
that  the  Mantis  (here  the  Mantis  caustay  receives  its  high- 
est honors.  The  attention  of  the  travelers  and  missiona- 
ries in  that  quarter  was  necessarily  much  drawn  to  the  kind 
of  religious  veneration  paid  to  an  insect,  and  from  their 
accounts,  though  very  contradictory,  some  carious  informa- 
tion may  be  collected. 

The  authority  of  Peter  Kolben,  an  early  German  traveler 
to  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope,  is  as  follows :  That  the  Hot- 
tentots regard  as  a  goad  deity  an  insect  of  the  "beetle-kind  " 
peculiar  to  their  country.  This  "beetle-god"  is  described 
by  him  to  be  "about  the  size  of  a  child's  little  finger,  the 
back  green,  the  belly  speckled  white  and  red,  with  two 
wings  and  two  horns."  He  also  assures  us  that  whenever 
the  Hottentots  meet  this  insect,  they  pay  it  the  highest 
honor  and  veneration ;  and  that  if  it  visits  a  kraal  they 
assemble  about  it  as  if  a  divinity  had  descended  among 
them;  and  even  kill  a  sheep  or  two  as  a  thank-ofifering,  and 
esteem  it  an  omen  of  the  greatest  happiness  and  prosperity. 
They  believe,  also,  its  appearance  expiates  all  their  guilt; 
and  if  the  insect  lights  upon  one  of  them,  such  person  is 
looked  upon  as  a  saint,  bo  it  man  or  woman,  and  ever  after 
treated  with  uncommon  respect.  The  kraal  then  kills  the 
fattest  ox  for  a  thank-offering;  and  the  caul,  powdered  with  ' 
bukhu,  and  twisted  like  a  rope,  is  put  on,  like  a  collar,  about 
the  neck,  and  there  must  remain  till  it  rots  off.* 

1  Carpenter's  ZooL,  ii.  142. 

2  Ppiw,/  Mag.,  1841,  2d  S.  p.  436. 
8  Cuvier,  An.  Kvtyd. — Inn.,  ii.  190.  J 
*  Present  St.  of  the  C.  of  Good  Hope,  i.  99-100,      Astley's  Collec  of 

'uy.  and  Tiav.,  iii.  3G0. 


Kolben,  in  another  place,  describes  the  Mantis  under  the 
name  of  the  Gold-beetle,  saying  that  its  head  and  wings  are 
of  a  gold  color,  the  back  green,  etc.,  as  above.^ 

Mr.  Kolben,  again  speaking  of  this  singular  reverence, 
remarks  that  the  Hottentots  will  run  every  hazard  to  secure 
the  safety  of  this  fortunate  insect,  and  are  cautious  to  the 
last  degree  of  giving  it  the  slightest  annoyance,  and  relates 
the  following  anecdote : 

"  A  German,  who  had  a  country-seat  about  six  miles  from 
the  fort,  having  given  leave  to  some  Hottentots  to  turn  their 
cattle  for  awhile  upon  his  land  there,  they  removed  to  the 
place  with  their  kraal.  A  son  of  this  German,  a  brisk 
young  fellow,  was  amusing  himself  in  the  kraal,  when  the 
deified  insect  appeared.  The  Hottentots,  upon  sight,  ran 
tumultuously  to  adore  it ;  while  the  young  fellow  tried  to 
catch  it,  in  order  to  see  the  effect  such  capture  would  pro- 
duce among  them.  But  how  great  was  the  general  cry  and 
agony  when  they  saw  it  in  his  hands  !  They  stared  with 
distraction  in  their  eyes  at  him,  and  at  one  another.  '  See, 
see,  see,'  said  they.  'Ah  I  what  is  he  going  to  do?  Will 
he  kill  it  ?  will  he  kill  it  V  Every  limb  of  them  shaking 
through  apprehensions  for  its  fate.  *  Why,'  said  the  young 
fellow,  who  very  well  understood  them,  'do  you  make  such 
a  hideous  noise  ?  and  why  such  agonies  for  this  paltry  ani- 
mal ?'  'Ah!  sir,'  they  replied,  with  the  utmost  concern, 
"tis  a  divinity.  'Tis  come  from  heaven;  'tis  come  on  a 
good  design.  Ah  !  do  not  hurt  it — do  not  offend  it.  We 
are  the  most  miserable  wretches  upon  earth  if  you  do.  This 
ground  will  be  under  a  curse,  and  the  crime  will  never  be 
forgiven.'  This  was  not  enough  for  the  young  German. 
He  had  a  mind  to  carry  the  experiment  a  little  farther.  He 
seemed  not,  therefore,  to  be  moved  with  their  petitions  and 
remonstrances ;  but  made  as  if  he  intended  to  maim  or  de- 
stroy it.  On  this  appearance  of  cruelty  they  started,  and 
ran  to  and  again  like  people  frantic;  asked  him,  where  and 
what  his  conscience  was  ?  and  how  he  durst  think  of  per- 
petrating a  crime,  which  would  bring  upon  his  head  all  the 
curses  and  thunders  of  heaven.  But  this  not  prevailing, 
they  fell  all  prostrate  on  the  ground  before  the  young  fel- 
low, and  with  streaming  eyes  and  the  loudest  cries,  besought 

1  Astley's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  ill.  381. 


liira  to  spare  the  creature  and  give  it  its  liberty.  The  young 
German  now  yielded,  and,  having  let  the  insect  fly,  the  Hot- 
tentots jumped  and  capered  and  shouted  in  all  the  trans- 
ports of  joy;  and,  running  after  the  animal,  rendered  it  the 
customary  divine  honors.  But  the  creature  settled  upon  none 
of  them,  and  there  was  not  one  sainted  upon  this  occasion."^ 

Afterward,  Mr.  Kolben,  discoursing  with  these  Hottentots, 
took  occasion  to  ask  them  concerning  the  utmost  limit  they 
carried  the  belief  of  the  sanctity  and  avenging  spirit  of  this 
insect,  when  they  declared  to  him,  that  if  the  German  had 
killed  it,  all  their  cattle  would  certainly  have  been  destroyed 
by  wild  beasts,  and  they  themselves,  every  man,  woman,  and 
child  of  them,  brought  to  a  miserable  end.  That  they 
believed  the  kraal  to  be  of  evil  destiny  .where  this  insect  is 
rarely  seen.  Mr.  Kolben  asserts  that  they  would  sooner 
give  up  their  lives  than  renounce  the  slightest  item  of  their 

Dr.  Sparrman,  a  Swedish  traveler  into  the  country  of  the 
Hottentots  and  Caffres  between  the  years  1772  and  1779,  in 
speaking  of  the  Mantis,  called  in  his  time  the  "  Hottentot's 
God,"  denies  the  above  statement  of  Mr.  Kolben,  and  says 
the  Hottentots  are  so  far  from  worshiping  it,  that  they  sev- 
eral times  caught  some  of  them,  and  gave  them  to  him  to 
put  needles  through  them,  by  way  of  preserving  them,  in  the 
same  manner  as  he  did  with  the  other  insects.  But  there  is, 
he  adds,  a  diminutive  species  of  this  insect,  which  some  thiuk 
would  be  a  crime,  as  well  as  very  dangerou's,  to  do  any 
harm  to,  but  that  it  was  only  a  superstitious  notion,  and 
not  any  kind  of  religious  worship.^ 

Dr.  Thunberg,  who  traveled  in  South  Africa  about  the 
same  time  as  Dr.  Sparrman,  corroborates  the  latter's  state- 
ment, and  says  he  could  see  no  reason  for  the  supposition 
that  the  Hottentots  worshiped  the  Mantis,  but,  he  adds,  it 
certainly  was  held  in  some  degree  of  esteem,  so  that  they 
would  not  willingly  hurt,  and  deemed  that  person  a  creature 
fortunate  on  which  it  settled,  though  without  paying  it  any 
sort  of  adoration.* 

Dr.  Yanderkemp,  in  his  account  of  Cafifraria,  after  de- 
scribing the  Mantis,  says  that  the  natives  call  it  oumloani- 
zoulou,  the  Child  of  Heaven,  and  adds  that  "the  Hotten- 

1  Pres.  St.  of  the  C.  of  Good  Hope,  i.  101-2.  2  jf^id, 

3  Trav.,  i.  150.  *  Ibid.,  ii.  Go. 



tots  regard  it  as  almost  a  deity,  and  offer  their  prayers  to 
it,  begfjing  that  it  may  not  destroy  them."^ 

Mr.  Kirchener,  speaking  of  the  same  people,  says  they 
reverence  a  little  insect,  known  by  the  name  of  the  Creeping 
Leaf,  a  sight  of  which  they  conceive  indicates  something 
fortunate,  and  to  kill  it  they  suppose  will  bring  a  curse  upon 
the  perpetrator.^ 

Mr.  Evan  Evans,  a  missionary  to  the  Cape  of  Good 
Hope,  gives  an  account  of  a  conversation  which  he  had  with 
the  Hottentot  driver  of  his  wagon,  which  seems  to  make  out 
the  claims  of  the  Mantis  to  be  the  God  of  the  Hottentots — 
as  it  is  even  yet  called.  The  driver  directed  his  attention  to 
"a  small  insect,"  which  he  called  by  its  above-mentioned 
familiar  name,  and  alluded  to  the  notions  he  had  in  former 
times  connected  with  it.  "  I  asked  him,  '  Did  you  ever 
worship  this  insect  then  V  He  answered,  'Oh,  yes !  a  thou- 
sand times;  always  before  I  came  to  Bethelsdorf.  When- 
ever I  saw  this  little  creature,  I  would  fall  down  on  my 
knees  before  him  and  pray.'  'What  did  you  pray  to  him 
for?'  'I  asked  him  to  give  me  a  good  master,  and  plenty 
of  thick  milk  and  flesh.'  '  Did  you  pray  for  nothing  else  V 
'No,  sir  ;  I  did  not  then  know  that  I  wanted  anything  else. 
.  .  .  Whenever  I  used  to  see  this  animal  (holding  the 
insect  still  in  his  hand)  I  used  sometimes  to  fall  down  im- 
mediately before  it ;  but  if  it  was  in  the  wagon-road,  or  in 
a  foot-path,  I  used  to  push  it  up  as  gently  as  I  could,  to 
place  it  behind  a  bush,  for  fear  a  wagon  should  crush  it,  or 
some  men  or  beasts  would  put  it  to  death.  H  a  Hottentot, 
\  by  some  accident,  killed  or  injured  this  creature,  he  was  sure 
j  to  be  unlucky  all  his  lifetime,  and  could  never  shoot  an  ele- 
||  phant  or  a  buffalo  afterward.'"'^ 

!  Niuhoff,  in  his  account  of  his  travels  in  Java  in  1643, 
tells  us  "the  Javanese  set  two  of  these  little  creatures 
1 1  (Mantes)  a  fighting  together,  and  lay  money  on  both  sides, 
I }  as  we  do  at  a  cock-match."*  Among  the  Chinese  also  this 
quarrelsome  property  in  the  genus  M'kntis  is  turned  into  an 
entertainment.  They  are  so  fond  of  gaming  and  witnessing 
fights  between  animals  that,  as   says   Mr.  Barrow  in  his 

1  Quot.  by  Penny  Mag.,  18il,  2d  S.  p.  436.         2  Jbid,         3  /^^v/. 
*  Churchill's  Coll.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  ii.  23,  and  Pinkerton's  Voy. 
and  Trav.,  xiv.  720. 


Travels,  "they  have  even  extended  their  inquiries  after 
fighting  animals  into  the  insect  tribe,  and  have  discovered  a 
species  of  Gryllus  or  Locust  that  will  attack  each  other  with 
such  ferocity  as  seldom  to  quit  their  hold  without  bringing 
away  at  the  same  time  a  limb  of  their  antagonist.  These 
little  creatures  are  fed  and  kept  apart  in  bamboo  cages,  and 
the  custom  of  making  them  devour  each  other  is  so  common 
that,  during  the  summer  months,  scarcely  a  boy  is  to  be 
seen  without  his  cage  of  grasshoppers."^  The  boys  in 
Washington  City,  who  call  the  Mantis  the  "Rear-horse," 
are  also  fond  of  this  amusement. 

Among  the  legends  of  St.  Francis  Xavier,  the  following 
is  found.  Seeing  a  Mantis  moving  along  in  its  solemn  way, 
holding  up  its  two  fore-legs,  as  in  the  act  of  devotion,  the 
Saint  desired  it  to  sing  the  praises  of  God,  whereupon  the 
insect  caroled  forth  a  fine  canticle.^ 

The  3Iantis  religiosa  of  America  is  said  to  make  a  most 
interesting  pet  when  tamed,  which  can  be  done  in  a  very 
short  time  and  with  but  little  pains.  Professor  Glover,  of 
the  Maryland  Agricultural  College,  tells  me  he  once  knew  a 
lady  in  Washington  v/ho  kept  a  Mantis  on  her  window 
which  soon  grew  so  tame  as  to  take  readily  a  fly  or  other 
small  insect  out  of  her  hand.  But  Mrs.  Taylor,  in  her  Or- 
thopterian  Defense,  has  given  us  the  particulars  in  full  of  a 
Mantis  which  she  had  petted.  She  speaks  of  it  under  the 
name  of  "Queen  Bess,"  and  in  her  most  interesting  style,  as 
follows : 

"  Queen  Bess,  of  famous  memory,  would  alight  on  my 
shoulder  and  take  all  her  food  from  me  half  a  dozen  times 
a  day.  When  she  omitted  her  visit  I  knew  she  had  been 
hunting  on  her  own  account.  All  night  long  she  would 
keep  watch  and  guard  under  the  mosquito-net.  The  silk 
(the  thread  with  which  the  insect  was  bound)  was  fastened 
to  the  post  of  the  bed ;  and  woe  betide  an  unfortunate  mos- 
quito who  fancied  for  his  supper  a  drop  of  claret.  It  was 
the  drollest,  the  most  laughter-moving  sensation,  to  feel  one 
of  these  trumpeters  saluting  your  nose  or  forehead,  and 
hear  Queen  Bess  approaching  with  those  long  claws,  creep- 
ing slowly,  softly,  nearer  and  nearer;  to  feel  the  fine  prick 
of  the  lancet  setting  in  for  a  tipple;  then  you  would  sup- 

1  Trav.  in  China,  p.  159.     Cf.  Williams'  Middle  Kingdom,  i.  273. 

2  Ins.  Arch.,  G3. 


pose  a  dozen  fine  needles  had  been  suddenly  drawn  across 
the  part;  then,  predo!  Bess's  strong,  saber-like  claws  had 
the  jolly  trumpeter  tucked  into  her  capacious  jaws  before 
you  could  open  your  eyes  to  ascertain  the  state  of  affairs. 

"  These  creatures  very  seldom  fly  far,"  continues  Mrs. 
Taylor,  "but  walk  in  a  most  stately  and  dignified  manner. 
Queen  Bess  could  not  bear  to  be  overlooked  or  slighted  (!); 
and  as  sure  as  she  saw  me  bending  over  the  magnifier  with 
an  insect,  and  I  thought  she  was  ten  yards  off,  the  insect 
would  be  incontinently  snapped  out  of  my  fingers.  Many 
a  valuable  specimen  disappeared  in  this  way.  I  learned  to 
put  her  at  these  times  in  the  sounding-board  of  an  vEolian 
harp,  which  was  generally  placed  in  the  window.  Her 
majesty  liked  music  of  this  kind  amazingly;  as  the  vibration 
wsisfeU  though  not  heard.  I  presume  she  fancied  she  was 
serenaded  by  the  singing  leaves  of  the  forest.  I  knew  she 
would  have  remained  there  spell-bound  until  driven  forth  by 
hunger,  if  I  did  not  remove  her  when  I  was  not  afraid  of 
her  company. 

"As  I  have  begun  my 'experiences,'"  continues  the  same 
writer,  "  I  will  go  through  with  them  and  confess  that  I  was 
obliged  from  circumstances  to  attach  more  than  accident  to 
her  prophetic  capacity — her  fortune-telling.  I  have  not  a 
grain  of  superstition  to  contend  against  in  other  matters, 
having  so  much  reverence  for  the  Creator  of  all  things  that 
I  certainly  have  no  fear  of  anything  earthly  or  spiritually 
conveyed  to  the  senses.  But  I  was  taught  by  the  saddest 
teacher,  Experience,  that  whenever  Queen  Bess's  refusal  went 
unheeded  I  was  the  sufferer.  The  tirst  time  I  ever  tried  it 
was  to  determine  a  vacillating  presentiment  I  felt  about 
trying  a  new  horse  whose  reputation  was  far  from  good.  I 
placed  Queen  Bess  before  me,  held  up  my  finger: 

"  'Attention  !  Queen  Bess,  would  you  advise  me  to  try 
that  horse  ?' 

"  She  was  standing  on  her  hind  legs,  her  antennas  erect, 
wings  wide  spread.  I  repeated  the  question.  Antennae 
fell ;  wings  folded ;  and  down  she  went,  gradually,  until 
her  head  and  long  thorax  were  buried  beneath  her  front  legs. 
I  took  her  advice,  and  did  not  venture.  Two  days  later  the 
horse  threw  his  rider  and  killed  him. 

"  Here  was  the  turning-point.  Was  I  to  allow  such  folly 
to  master  me  ?  If  French  girls  do  take  a  Mantis  at  the  junc- 
tion of  three  roads,  and  ask  her  on  which  their  lover  will 



come,  and  watch  the  insect  turning  and  examining  each 
road  with  her  weird  sibyl  head,^ — if  French  girls  commit 
such  follies,  should  I,  a  staid  American  woman,  follow  their 
example — putting  my  faith  in  the  caprices  of  an  insect  ? 
Pshaw  !  1  was  above  such  folly.  So  the  next  time  Queen 
Bess  was  consulted  a  more  decided  refusal  was  given  ;  but 
I  disregarded  her  warning,  and  most  sorely  did  I  repent  it. 
Again  she  would  approve,  by  standing  more  erect,  if  pos- 
sible, spreading  and  closing  her  wings  ;  then  all  was  sun- 
shine with  me.  So  it  went  for  many  months.  Many  others 
have  had  the  same  experience,  if  they  will  confess  it 
honestly.  I  learned  to  obey  the  hidden  head  more  care- 
fully than  any  other,  I  am  sorry  to  say ;  and  1  never,  in 
one  single  instance,  knew  her  to  refuse  her  opinion  ;  and  I 
never  knew  it  to  be  wrong  in  whatever  way  she  announced 

This  same  superstitious  woman  says  that  boys  and  girls 
try  their  future  expectations  by  making  a  miaiic  chariot, 
ballasting  it  with  small  pebbles,  shot,  or  any  such  like  thing, 
and  harnessing  the  Mantis  in  with  silk.  Upon  being 
freighted  she  rises  immediately,  as  if  to  try  the  weight;  if 
too  heavy  she  will  not  fly.  Lighten  the  chariot,  and  she 
will  soar  away  to  a  tree  or  a  field ;  then  her  owner  is  to  be 
a  lucky  boy.  If  she  will  not  go  at  all,  or  only  a  short 
distance,  and  soon  come  down,  misfortune  is  to  be  his 

Other  superstitions  among  us,  with  respect  to  the  Mantis 
are  as  follows : 

When  the  Mantis  (Rear-horse)  kneels,  it  sees  an  angel 
in  the  way,  or  hears  the  rustle  of  its  wings.  When  it 
alights  on  your  hand,  you  are  about  to  make  the  acquaint- 
ance of  a  distinguished  person  ;  if  it  alights  on  your  head, 
a  great  honor  will  shortly  be  conferred  upon  you.  If  it  in- 
jures you  in  any  way,  which  it  does  but  seldom,  you  will 
lose  a  valued  friend  by  calunmy.  Never  kill  a  Mantis,  as 
it  bears  charms  against  evil. 

From  the  great  resemblance  of  many  species  of  Mantis 
to  the  leaves  of  the  trees  upon  which  they  feed,  some  trav- 
elers, who  have  observed  them,  have  declared  that  they  saw 
the  leaves  of  trees  become  living  creatures,  and  take  flight. 

1  This  superstition  I  have  found  in  no  other  place. 

2  Harper's  New  Monthly  Mag.,  xxiv.  491,  2. 



Madame  Merian  informs  us  of  a  similar  opinion  among;  the 
Indians  of  Surinam,  who  believed  these  insects  grew  like 
leaves  upon  the  trees,  and  when  they  were  mature,  loosened 
themselves  and  crawled,  or  flew  away. 

We  find  also  in  the  works  of  Piso  an  account  of  insects 
becoming  plants.  Speaking  of  the  Mantis,  that  author 
says  :  '*  Those  little  animals  change  into  a  green  and  tender 
plant,  which  is  of  two  hands  breadth.  The  feet  are  fixed 
into  the  ground  first;  from  these,  when  necessary  humidity 
is  attracted,  roots  grow  out,  and  strike  into  the  ground  ; 
thus  they  change  by  degrees,  and  in  a  short  time  become  a 
perfect  plant.  Sometimes  only  the  lower  part  takes  the 
nature  and  form  of  a  plant,  while  the  upper  part  remains  as 
before,  living  and  movable  ;  after  some  time  the  animal  is 
gradually  converted  into  a  plant.  In  this  jSTature  seems  to 
operate  in  a  circle,  by  a  continual  retrograde  motion."^ 

There  may  be,  however,  much  truth  in  this  remarkable 
metamorphosis;  for,  that  an  insect  may  strike  root  into  the 
earth,  and,  from  the  co-operation  of  heat  and  moisture,  con- 
genial to  vegetation,  produce  a  plant  of  the  cryptogam ic 
kind,  cannot  be  disputed.  Westwood  states  that  he  has  seen 
a  species  of  Glavaria,  both  of  the  undivided  &,nd  branched 
kinds,  which  had  sprung  from  insects,  and  were  four  times 
larger  than  the  insects  themselves.  In  truth,  it  cannot 
then  be  denied  that  Piso  may  not  have  seen  a  plant  of  a 
proportionate  magnitude  which  had  likewise  grown  out  of 
a  Mantis.  The  pupae  of  bees,  wasps,  and  cicadas,  have 
been  known  to  become  the  nidus  of  a  plant,  to  throw  up 
stems  from  the  front  part  of  the  head,  and  change  in  every 
respect  into  a  vegetable,  and  still  retain  the  shell  and  ex- 
terior appearance  of  the  parent  insect  at  the  root.  Speci- 
mens of  these  vegetated  animals  are  frequently  brought 
from  the  West  Indies.  Mr.  Drury  had  a  beetle  in  the  per- 
fect state,  from  every  part  of  which  small  stalks  and  fibers 
sprouted  forth ;  they  were  entirely  different  from  the  tufts 
of  hair  that  are  observed  in  a  few  Coleopterous  insects,  such 
as  the  Buprestis  fascicular ius  of  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope, 
and  were  certainly  a  vegetable  production.^     Mr.  Atwood, 

1  Donovan  seems  to  think  that  Ovid's  account  of  the  Transforma- 
tion of  Phaeton's  Sisters  into  trees,  had  its  origin  in  some  such  idea 
as  tliis. — Insects  of  China,  p.  18,  note.  See  also  Chamb.  Journal,  xi. 
yCw,  2d  Ser. 

'^  Donovan's  Ins.  of  China,  p.  19. 


in  his  account  of  Dominica,  describes  a  "vegetable  fly"  as 
follows  :  "  It  is  of  the  appearance  and  size  of  a  small  Cock- 
chafer, and  buries  itself  in  the  ground,  where  it  dies ;  and 
from  its  body  springs  up  a  small  plant,  resembling  a  young 
cofl'ee-tree,  only  that  its  leaves  are  smaller.  Tlie  plant  is 
often  overlooked,  from  the  supposition  people  have  of  its 
being  no  other  than  a  cofi'ee  plant,  but  on  examining  it 
properly,  the  difference  is  easily  distinguished.  .  .  .  The 
head,  body,  and  feet  of  the  insect  appearing  at  the  foot  as 
perfect  as  when  alive. "^ 

Dr.  Colin,  of  Philadelphia,  has  mentioned,  also,  on  the 
authority  of  a  missionary,  a  "vegetable  fly,"  similar  to  the 
last  mentioned,  on  the  Ohio  River.'-' 

The  inhabitants  of  the  Sechell  Islands  raise  the  Mantis 
sicci/olia,  or  Dry-leaf  Mantis,  as  an  object  of  commerce 
and  natural  history. 

Achetidae — Crickets. 

In  the  Island  of  Barbados,  the  natives  look  upon  the 
creaking  chirp  of  a  species  of  Cricket,  to  which  Hughes 
has  given  the  name  of  the  Ash-colored  or  Sickly  Cricket, 
wiien  heard  in  the  house,  as  an  omen  of  death  to  some  one 
of  the  family. '^ 

In  England,  also,  is  the  Cricket's  chirp  sometimes  looked 
upon  as  prognosticating  death.  "When  Blonzelind  ex- 
pired," Gay,  in  his  Pastoral  Dirge,  says, 

And  shrilling  Crickets  in  the  cLimney  cry'd.^ 

So  also  in  Reed's  Old  Plays  is  the  Cricket's  cry  ominous 
of  death  : 

And  the  strange  Cricket  i"  th'  oven  sings  and  hops. 

The  same  superstition  is  found  in  the  following  line  from 
the  (Edipus  of  Dryden  and  Lee  : 

1  Smith's  Xature  and  Art,  x.  240. 

2  Avicr.  Phil.  Trans.,  vol.  iii.     Infrod. 
^  Cuvier,  An.  Kingd.—Ins.,  ii.  173. 
*  Nat.  Hist,  of  Barbados,  p.  9U. 
^  4th  Pastoral,  line  102. 


Owels,  ravens,  Crickets,  seem  the  watch  of  death. 

Gaule  mentions,  among  other  vain  observations  and  su- 
perstitious ominations  thereupon,  "the  Cricket's  chirping 
behind  the  chimney  stack,  or  creeping  on  the  foot-pace."^ 

Dr.  Nathaniel  Home,  after  saying  that  "  by  the  flying 
and  crying  of  ravens  over  their  houses,  especially  in  the 
dusk  of  evening,  and  when  one  is  sick,  they  conclude  death," 
adds,  "the  same  they  conclude  of  a  Cricket  crying  in  a 
house  where  there  was  wont  to  be  none."^ 

"  Some  sort  of  people,"  says  Mr.  Ramsay,  in  his  Elmin- 
thologia,  "  at  every  turn,  upon  every  accident,  how  are  they 
therewith  terrified !  If  but  a  Cricket  unusually  appear,  or 
they  hear  but  the  clicking  of  a  Death-watch,  as  they  call  it, 
they,  or  some  one  else  in  the  family,  shall  die  !"^ 

Gilbert  White,  the  accurate  naturalist  of  Selborne,  speak- 
ing of  Crickets,  says  :  "  They  are  the  house-wife's  barometer, 
foretelling  her  when  it  will  rain  ;  and  are  prognostics  some- 
times, she  thinks,  of  ill  or  good  luck,  of  the  death  of  a  near 
relation,  or  the  approach  of  an  absent  lover.  By  being  the 
constant  companions  of  her  solitary  hours,  they  naturally 
become  the  objects  of  her  superstition.""' 

The  voice  of  the  Cricket,  says  the  Spectator,  has  struck 
more  terror  than  the  roaring  of  a  lion. 

Mrs.  Bray  also  notices  that  the  Cricket's  chirp  in  England, 
which  in  almost  all  other  countries,  and  in  that  too  in  some 
families,  as  will  be  shown  hereafter,  is  considered  a  cheerful 
and  a  welcome  note,  the  harbinger  of  joy, — is  deemed  by 
the  peasantry  ominous  of  sorrow  and  evil.^ 

"In  Dumfries-shire,"  says  Sir  William  Jardine,  "it  is  a 
common  superstition  that  if  Crickets  forsake  a  house  which 
they  have  long  inhabited,  some  evil  will  befall  the  family ; 
generally  the  death  of  some  member  is  portended.  In  like 
manner  the  presence  or  return  of  this  cheerful  little  insect 
is  lucky,  and  portends  some  good  to  the  family."^ 

Melton  also  says, — "17.   That  it  is  a  sign  of  death  to 

1  Mag-astroviancers  Posed  and  PuzzeVd,  p.  181. 

2  Dsemonologia,  1650,  p.  59. 

3  Elminth.,  8vo.  Lond.,  16G8,  p.  271. 
*  Nat.  Hist,  of  Selborne,  p.  255. 

5  Tamar  and  Tavy,  i.  321. 

6  The  Mirror,  xix.  180. 



some  in  that  house  where  Crickets  have  been  many  years,  if 
on  a  sudden  they  forsake  the  chimney."^ 

The  departure  of  Crickets  from  a  hearth  where  they  have 
been  heard,  is,  at  the  present  time,  in  England,  considered 
an  omen  of  misfortune.- 

From  the  above  statements  of  Mr.  White,  Mrs.  Bray,  and 
Sir  William  Jardine,  we  learn  that  in  England  the  Cricket's 
chirp  is  not  always  ominous  of  evil,  but  sometimes  also  of 
good  luck,  of  joy,  and  of  the  approach  of  an  absent  lover. 

A  correspondent  of  the  "Xotes  and  Queries"  mentions 
the  Cricket's  cry  as  foreboding  good  luck.^  So  also  a  writer 
for  "The  Mirror,"  remarking,  it  is  singular  that  the  House- 
cricket  should  by  some  persons  be  considered  an  unlucky,  by 
others  a  lucky,  inmate  of  the  mansion.  Those  who  hold  the 
latter  opinion,  he  adds,  consider  the  destruction  of  these  in- 
sects the  means  of  bringing  misfortunes  on  their  habitations.* 
Grose  thus  expresses  this  last  superstition  :  Persons  killing 
these  insects  (including  the  Lady-bird,  before  mentioned) 
will  infallibly,  within  the  course  of  the  year,  break  a  bone, 
or  meet  with  some  other  dreadful  misfortune.^ 

That  the  belief  that  the  appearance  of  Crickets  in  a  house 
is  a  good  omen,  and  prognosticates  cheerfulness  and  plenty, 
is  pretty  generally  entertained  in  England,  may  be  inferred 
also  from  the  manner  in  which  it  has  been  embodied  by 
Cowper,  in  his  address  to  a  Cricket 

Chirping  on  his  kitchen  hearth. 
His  words  are : 

Whereso'er  be  tliine  abode, 
Always  harbinger  of  good. 

And  again  in  that  admirable  little  tale  of  Charles 
Dickens,  entitled  "The  Cricket  on  the  Hearth,"  this  good 
and  happy  superstition  is  embodied.  "It's  sure  to  bring  us 
good  fortune,  John  I  It  always  has  been  so.  To  have  a 
Cricket  on  the  hearth  is  the  luckiest  thing  in  the  world," 
says  its  heroine. 

^  Astrologaster,  p.  45. 

'^  Notes  and  Queries,  iii.  3. 

3  Ibid. 

*  The  Mirror,  xix.  180. 

^  Grose,  Antiq.  Prov.  Glosts..  p.  121. 


All  these  superstitions  are  more  or  less  entertained  in 
America,  brought  here  by  the  English  themselves,  and  re- 
tained by  their  descendants.  That  the  Cricket  is  the  "har- 
binger of  good,"  it  gives  me  pleasure  to  say,  is  the  most 

Another  superstition  obtaining  in  this  country,  and  par- 
ticularly in  Maryland  and  Virginia,  is  that  Crickets  are 
old  folks  and  ought  not  therefore  to  be  destroyed.  This 
probably  arose  from  Crickets  being  found  about  the  kitchen 
hearth  where  the  old  folks  were  accustomed  to  sit. 

Milton  chose  for  his  contemplative  pleasures  a  spot  where 
Crickets  resorted: 

Where  glowing  embers  through  the  room 
Teach  light  to  counterfeit  a  gloom, 
Far  from  all  resort  of  mirth, 
Save  the  Cricket  on  the  hearth. i 

The  learned  Scaliger  is  said  to  have  been  particularly  de- 
lighted with  the  chirping  of  these  animals,  and  was  accus- 
tomed to  keep  them  in  a  box  for  his  amusement  in  his 

Mrs.  Taylor,  the  writer  of  a  very  interesting  series  of 
papers  on  insects  for  Harper's  Magazine,  relates  that  in  her 
travels  through  Wales,  she  obtained  several  House-crickets 
in  the  old  Castle  of  Caernarvon.  These  she  carried  with 
her,  in  her  journeyings  to  and  fro  over  the  Kingdom,  for 
several  years,  and  at  last  brought  them  to  this  country, 
where  they  were  liberated  in  the  snuggest  corner  of  a  South- 
ern hearth.  Again  a  wanderer  for  many  years,  she  went  back 
to  the  old  house  to  see  how  her  chirping  friends  were  coming' 
on,  but,  alas !  she  was  told  by  the  then  residents,  with  the 
utmost  calmness,  "they  had  had  great  difficulty  in  scalding 
them  out,  and  they  hoped  there  was  not  one  left  on  the 
premises  !"^ 

In  certain  countries  of  Africa,  Crickets  are  reported  to 
constitute  an  article  of  commerce.  Some  persons  rear  them, 
feed  them  in  a  kind  of  iron  oven,  and  sell  them  to  the  natives, 
who  are  very  fond  of  their  music,  thinking  it  induces  sleep.* 

1  II  Pen  serosa. 

2  Mouffet,  Theat.  Insect.,  p.  136. 
^  Harper's  Mac/  ,  xxvi.  497. 

*  iMouff.  T/ieat.  Ins..  p.  186. 


De  Pauw  finds  some  traces  of  the  Egyptian  worship  of  the 
Scarabajus  in  this  fondness  for  the  music  of  the  "holy 
Crickets,"  as  he  calls  them,  of  Madagascar  !  By  the  rearing 
of  which  insects,  he  tells  us,  the  Africans  make  a  living,  and 
the  rich  would  think  themselves  at  enmity  with  heaven,  if 
they  did  not  preserve  whole  swarms  in  ovens  constructed 
expressly  for  that  purpose.^ 

The  youth  of  Germany,  Jaeger  says,  are  extremely  fond 
of  Field-crickets,  so  much  so,  that  there  is  scarcely  a  boy  to 
be  seen  who  has  not  several  small  boxes  made  expressly  for 
keeping  these  insects  in.  So  much  delighted  are  they,  too, 
with  their  music,  that  they  carry  these  boxes  of  Crickets 
into  their  bed-rooms  at  night,  and  are  soothed  to  sleep  wita 
their  chirping  lullaby,^ 

On  the  contrary,  others,  as  has  been  before  mentioned, 
think  there  is  something  ominous  and  melancholy  in  the 
Cricket's  cry,  and  use  every  endeavor  to  banish  this  insect 
from  their  houses.  "Lidelius  tells  us,"  says  Goldsmith,  ''of 
a  woman  who  was  very  much  incommoded  by  Crickets,  and 
tried,  but  in  vain,  every  method  of  banishing  them  from  her 
house.  She  at  last  accidentally  succeeded;  for  having  one 
day  invited  several  guests  to  her  house,  where  there  was  a 
wedding,  in  order  to  increase  the  festivity  of  the  entertain- 
ment, she  procured  drums  and  trumpets  to  entertain  them. 
The  noise  of  these  was  so  much  greater  than  what  the  little 
animals  were  accustomed  to,  that  they  instantly  forsook 
their  situation,  and  were  never  heard  in  that  mansion 
more.'"  Like  many  other  noisy  persons,  Crickets  like  to 
hear  nobody  louder  than  themselves. 

In  the  Island  of  Sumatra,  Capt.  Stuart  tells  me,  a  black 
Cricket  is  looked  upon  with  great  respect,  amounting  almost 
to  adoration.     It  is  deemed  a  grievous  sin  to  kill  it. 

Baskets  full  of  Field-crickets,  Lopes  de  Gomara  says, 
were  found  among  the  provisions  of  the  Indians  of  Jamaica 
when  they  were  first  discovered.* 

"The  Criquet  called  Gryllus,"  says  Pliny  in  tlie  words  of 
Holland,  "doth  mitigat catarrhs  and  all  asperities  offending 
the  throat,  if  the  same  bee  rubbed  therewith :  also  if  a  man 

1  De  Pauw,  ii.  106. 

2  Life  of  Amer.  Ins.,  p    114. 

3  Earth  and  Aniiii'it.  Nat.,  iv.  216. 

4  Sloane's  Nal.  ILst.  of  Jamaica,  ii.  201. 


doe  but  touch  the  amygdals  or  almonds  of  the  throat,  with 
the  hand  wherewith  he  hath  bruised  or  crushed  the  said 
Criquet,  it  will  appease  the  inflaraation  thereof.'"  Again, 
"The  Cricket  digged  up  and  applied  to  the  plase,  earth  and 
all  where  it  lay,  is  very  good  for  the  ears.  Nigridius,"  con- 
tinues Pliny,  "attributeth  many  properties  to  this  poore 
creature,  and  esteeraeth  it  not  a  little :  but  the  Magicians 
much  more  by  a  faire  deale :  and  why  so  ?  Forsooth  be- 
cause it  goeth,  as  it  were,  reculing  backward,  it  pierceth 
and  boreth  a  hole  into  the  ground,  and  never  ceaseth  all 
night  long  to  creake  very  shrill. 

''The  manner  of  hunting  and  catching  them  is  this.  They 
take  a  flie  and  tie  it  above  the  middest  at  the  end  of  a  long 
haire  of  one's  head,  and  so  put  the  said  flie  into  the  mouth 
[  of  the  Cricquet's  hole  ;  but  first  they  blow  the  dust  away  with 
their  mouth,  for  fear  lest  the  flie  should  hide  herself  therein ; 
the  Cricket  spies  the  sillie  flie,  seaseth  upon  her  presently  and 
claspeth  her  round,  and  so  they  are  both  drawne  foorth  to- 
gether by  the  said  haire. "^ 

At  the  present  time,  children  in  France  practice  the  same 
method  of  capturing  Crickets  for  amusement ;  substituting, 
however,  an  ant  for  the^"  sillie  flie,"  and  a  long  straw  for 
"the  haire  of  one's  head."  Hence  comes  the  common 
proverb  in  France,  il  est  sot  cpmme  un  grillon.  A  ruse 
for  capturing  the  larva  of  the  Cicindela,  now  commonly 
practiced  by  entomologists,  is  founded  on  the  same  prin- 

Pliny  further  says:  "The  Cricquets  above  rehearsed, 
either  reduced  into  a  liniment,  or  else  bound  too,  whole  as 
they  be,  cureth  the  accident  of  the  lap  of  the  eare,  wounds, 
contusions,  bruises,"  etc.^ 

Dr.  James,  quoting  Schroder  and  Dale,  says :  "  The 
ashes  of  the  Cricket  {Gryllus  domesticus)  exhibited,  are 
said  to  be  diuretic;  the  expressed  juice,  dropped  into  the 
eyes,  is  a  remedy  for  weakness  of  the  sight,  and  alleviates 
disorders  of  the  tonsils,  if  rubbed  on  them."-^ 

The  English  name  Cricket,  the  French  Cri-cri,  the 
Dutch  Krekel,  and  the  Welsh  Cricell  and  Gricella,  are 
evidently  derived  from  the  creak-'mg  sounds  of  these  insects. 

1  Nat.  IIisL,  XXX.  4.     Holland,  p.  378.  H. 

2  Ibid.,  xxix.  6.     Holland,  p.  370.  K. 

3  Pliny,  Nat.  Hist.,  xxix.  G.     IIolL,  p.  371.  A. 
*  Med.  Diet. 


Gryllidse — Grasshoppers. 

Mr.  Hughes,  after  describing  an  ash-colored  Grasshop- 
per (which  may  be  his  ash-colored  cricket  before  men- 
tioned),' remarks  that  the  superstitious  of  the  inhabitants 
of  Barbados  are  very  apprehensive  of  some  approaching 
illness  to  the  family,  whenever  this  insect  flies  into  their 
houses  in  the  evening  or  in  the  night."^ 

Athenteus  tells  us  the  ancient  Greeks  used  to  eat  the 
common  Grasshopper  and  the  Monkey-grasshopper  as  pro- 
vocatives of  the  appetite.     Aristophanes  says  : 

How  can  you,  in  God's  name,  like  Grasshoppers, 
Catching  them  with  a  reed,  and  Cercopes?^ 

Turpin  tells  us  there  is  a  kind  of  brown  Grasshopper  in 
Siara,  which  the  natives  consider  a  delicate  food.* 

"  Fernandus  Oniedus  declareth  furthermore,"  says  Peter 
Martyr  in  his  History  of  the  West  Indies,  "that  in  a  cer- 
tain region  called  Zenu,  lying  fourescore  and  tenne  miles 
from  Darrina  Eastwarde,  they  exercise  a  strange  kinde  of 
marchaundize  :  For  in  the  houses  of  the  inhabitantes  they 
found  great  chests  and  baskets,  made  of  twigges  and  leaves 
of  certaine  trees  apt  for  that  purpose,  being  all  ful  of 
Grasshoppers,  Grilles,  Crabbes,  Crefishes,  Snails  also,  and 
Locustes,  which  destroie  the  fields  of  corue,  all  well  dried 
and  salted.  Being  demanded  why  they  reserved  such  a 
multitude  of  these  beastes  :  they  answered,  that  they  kept 
them  to  be  sowlde  (sold)  to  the  borderors,  which  dwell  fur- 
ther within  the  lande,  and  that  for  the  exchange  of  these 
pretious  birdes,  and  salted  fishes,  they  received  of  them 
certayne  straunge  thinges,  wherein  partly  they  take  pleasure, 
and  partly  use  them  for  the  necessarie  affaires."^ 

In  the  account  of  the  voyages  of  J.  Huighen  Linschoten, 
it  is  stated  that  the  inhabitants  of   Cumana  eat   "  horse- 

1  The  Grasshopper,  however,  according  to  Mr.  Hughes'  descrip- 
tion, is  twice  as  large  as  the  cricket;  it  being  two  inches,  the  cricket 
but  one  inch,  in  length. — P.  85  and  90. 

2  Xal.  Hist,  of  Bivrb.,  p.  85. 

3  Atlien.  Deipnos,  L.  4,  c.  12.  The  Cercope,  or  Monkey-grasshop- 
per, was  so  called  from  having  a  long  tail  like  a  monkey,  cercops. 

*  Pinkert.  Col   of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  ix.  612. 
5  Ilist.  of  West  Indies,  p.  121-2. 



leeches,  bats,  Grasshopers,  spiders,  bees,  and  raw,  sodden, 
and  roasted  lice.  They  spare  no  living  creature  whatso- 
ever, but  they  eat  it."^ 

"Among  the  choice  delicacies  with  which  the  California 
Digger  Indians  regale  themselves  during  the  summer  sea- 
son," says  the  Empire  County  Argus,  "is  the  Grasshopper 
roast.  Having  been  an  eye-witness  to  the  preparation  and 
discussion  of  one  of  their  feasts  of  Grasshoppers,  we  can 
describe  it  truthfully.  There  are  districts  in  California,  as 
well  as  portions  of  the  plains  between  Sierra  Nevada  and 
the  Rocky  Mountains,  that  literally  swarm  with  Grasshop- 
pers, and  in  such  astonishing  numbers  that  a  man  cannot 
put  his  foot  to  the  ground,  while  walking  there,  without 
crushing  great  numbers.  To  the  Indian  they  are  a  deli- 
cacy, and  are  caught  and  cooked  in  the  following  manner  : 
A  piece  of  ground  is  sought  where  they  most  abound,  in 
the  center  of  which  an  excavation  is  made,  large  and  deep 
enough  to  prevent  the  insect  from  hopping  out  whejQ  once 
in.  The  entire  party  of  Diggers,  old  and  young,  male  and 
female,  then  surround  as  much  of  the  adjoining  grounds  as 
they  can,  and  each  with  a  green  bough  in  hand,  whipping 
and  thrashing  on  every  side,  gradually  approach  the  center, 
driving  the  insects  before  them  in  countless  multitudes,  till 
at  last  all,  or  nearly  all,  are  secured  in  the  pit.  In  the 
mean  time  smaller  excavations  are  made,  answering  the  pur- 
pose of  ovens,  in  which  fires  are  kindled  and  kept  up  till  the 
surrounding  earth,  for  a  short  distance,  becomes  sufficiently 
heated,  together  with  a  flat  stone,  large  enough  to  cover  the 
oven.  The  Grasshoppers  are  now  taken  in  coarse  bags,  and, 
after  being  thoroughly  soaked  in  salt  water  for  a  few  mo- 
ments, are  emptied  into  the  oven  and  closed  in.  Ten  or 
fifteen  minutes  suffice  to  roast  them,  when  they  are  taken 
out  and  eaten  without  further  preparation,  and  with  much 
apparent  relish,  or,  as  is  sometimes  the  case,  reduced  to  pow- 
der and  made  into  soup.  And  having  from  curiosity  tasted, 
not  of  the  soup,  but  of  the  roast,  really,  if  one  could  divest 
himself  of  the  idea  of  eating  an  insect  as  we  do  an  oyster  or 
shrimp,  without  other  preparation  than  simple  roasting,  they 
would  not  be  considered  very  bad  eating,  even  by  more  re- 
fined epicures  than  the  Digger  Indians."-^ 

1  Voy.,  ii.  239.     Wanley's  Wonders,  ii.  878. 

2  Quoted  in  Simmond's  Curios,  of  Food,  p.  304. 


An  item  dated  Tuesday,  Aug.  21st,  1742,  in  the  Gentle- 
man's Magazine,  states:  "Great  damage  has  been  done  to 
the  pastures  in  the  country,  particularly  about  Bristol,  by 
swarms  of  Grasshoppers ;  the  like  has  happened  in  Penn- 
sylvania to  a  surprising  degree."^ 

A  common  species  in  Sweden,  the  Decticus  verrucivorus, 
is  employed  by  the  native  peasants  to  bite  the  warts  on  their 
hands  ;  the  black  fluid  which  it  emits  from  its  mouth  being 
supposed  to  possess  the  power  of  making  these  excrescences 
vanish.^  This  black  fluid,  from  whatever  Grasshoppers  it 
may  be  emitted,  is  called  by  our  boys  "  tobacco  spit,"  which 
it  much  resembles  ;  and  they  attribute  to  it  also  a  wart- 
curing  quality.  When  they  catch  one,  they  hold  it  between 
the  thumb  and  fore-finger,  and  cry  out, — 

Spit,  spit  tobacco  spit, 
And  then  I'll  let  you  go. 

The  exuviae  of  a  Grasshopper  called  Semmi  or  Sebi, 
Kemplfer  tells  us,  are  preserved  for  medicinal  uses,  and  sold 
publicly  in  shops  both  in  Japan  and  China.^ 

Dr.  James,  quoting  Dioscorides,  says :  "  Grasshoppers 
(Locusia  Anglica  minor,  vulgatiasima,  Raii  Ins.  60.)  in  a 
suftumigation  relieve  under  a  dysury,  especially  such  as  is 
incident  to  the  female  sex.  The  Locusta  Africanus  is  a  very 
good  antidote  against  the  poison  of  the  Scorpion."^ 

After  describing  the  Grasshopper  of  Italy,  Brookes  says  : 
"It  is  often  an  amusement  among  the  children  of  that  coun- 
try to  catch  this  animal;  and,  by  tickling  the  belly  with 
their  finger,  it  will  whistle  as  long  as  they  chuse  to  make  it."^ 

In  France,  Grasshoppers  are  called  Sauterelles,  Hoppers  ; 
and  in  Germany,  Heupferde,  Hay-horses,  because  they  gen- 
erally feed  on  grasses,  and  their  head  has  something  of  the 
form  of  a  horse's  head. 

If  Grasshoppers  appear  early  in  the  summer  in  great 
numbers,  they  foretell  famine  and  drouth, — a  superstition 
obtaining  in  Maryland. 

1  Gent.  Mag.,  xii.  442. 

2  Good,  Study  of  3Ied.,  iv.  515. 

3  Pinkerton's  Vo7/.  and  Trav.,  vii.  705. 

4  Med.  Diet. 

5  Nat.  Hist,  of  Ins.,  p.  67. 


Locustidse— Locusts. 

Moufet  says  :  "  That  Locusts  should  be  generated  of  tlie 
carkasse  of  a  mule  or  asse  (as  Plutarch  reports  in  the  life  of 
Cleonides)  by  putrefaction,  I  cannot  with  philosophers  de- 
termine ;  first,  because  it  was  permitted  to  the  Jewes  to  feed 
on  them  ;  secondly,  because  no  man  ever  yet  was  an  eye- 
witness of  such  a  putrid  and  ignoble  generation  of  Lo- 

The  first  record  of  the  ravages  of  the  Locusts,  which  we 
find  in  history,  is  the  account  in  the  Book  of  Exodus  of  the 
visitation  to  the  land  of  Egypt.  "And  the  Locusts  went 
up  over  all  the  land  of  Egypt,  and  rested  in  all  the  coasts  of 

Egypt — very  grievous  were  they For  they  covered 

the  face  of  the  whole  earth,  so  that  the  land  was  darkened ; 
and  they  did  eat  every  herb  of  the  land,  and  all  the  fruit  of 
the  trees  which  the  hail  had  left;  and  there  remained  not 
any  green  thing  in  the  trees,  or  in  the  herbs  of  the  field, 
through  all  the  land  of  Egypt. "^ 

It  is  to  the  Bible,  too,  we  go  to  find  the  best  account,  for 
correctness  and  sublimity,  of  the  appearance  and  ravages  of 
these  terrific  insects.  It  is  thus  given  by  the  prophet  Joel : 
"A  day  of  darkness  and  of  gloominess,  a  day  of  clouds  and 
of  thick  darkness,  as  the  morning  spread  upon  the  mount- 
ains: a  great  people  and  a  strong  ;  there  hath  not  been  ever 
the  like,  neither  shall  be  any  more  after  it,  even  to  the  years 
of  many  generations.  A  fire  devoureth  before  them  ;  and 
behind  them  a  flame  burneth;  the  land  is  as  the  garden  of 
Eden  before  them,  and  behind  them  a  desolate  wilderness; 
yea,  and  nothing  shall  escape  them.  Like  the  noise  of 
chariots^  on  the  tops  of  mountains  shall  they  leap,  like  the 
noise  of  a  flame  of  fire  that  devoureth  the  stubble,  as  a 
strong  people  set  in  battle  array.  Before  their  faces  the 
people  shall  be  much  pained :  all  faces  shall  gather  blackness. 
They  shall  run  like  mighty  men;  they  shall  climb  the  wall 
like  men  of  war,  and  they  shall  march  every  one  on  his  ways. 

1  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  120.     Topsel's  RisL  of  Beasts,  p.  984. 

^  Exod  ,  chap.  x. 

3  Of  the  symbolical  Locusts  in  the  Apocalypse  it  is  said — "And  the 
sounds  of  their  wings  was  as  the  sound  of  chariots,  of  many  horses 
running  to  battle." — ix.  9. 



and  they  shall  not  break  their  ranks;  neither  shall  one 
thrust  another,  they  shall  walk  every  one  in  his  path ;  and 
whes  they  fall  upon  the  sword  they  shall  not  be  wounded. 
They  shall  run  to  and  fro  in  the  city;  they  shall  run  upon 
the  wall,  they  shall  climb  up  upon  the  houses ;  they  shall 
enter  in  at  the  windows  like  a  thief.  The  earth  shall  quake 
before  them,  the  heavens  shall  tremble ;  the  sun'  and  the 
moon  shall  be  dark,  and  the  stars  shall  withdraw  their  shin- 
ing." The  usual  way  in  which  they  are  destroyed  is  also 
noticed  by  the  prophet.  **I  will  remove  far  off  from 
you  the  northern  army,  and  will  drive  him  into  aland  barren 
and  desolate,  with  his  face  towards  the  east  sea,  and  his 
hinder  part  towards  the  utmost  sea,  and  his  stink  shall 
come  up,  because  he  hath  done  great  things."^ 

Paulus  Orosius  tells  us  that  in  the  year  of  the  world  3800, 
during  the  consulship  of  M.  Plautius  Hypsseus,  and  M.  Ful- 
vius  Flaccus,  such  infinite  myriads  of  Locusts  were  blown 
from  the  coast  of  Africa  into  the  sea  and  drowned,  that 
being  cast  upon  the  shore  in  immense  heaps  they  emitted  a 
stench  greater  than  could  have  been  produced  by  the  car- 
casses of  one  hundred  thousand  men.  A  general  pestilence 
of  all  living  creatures  followed.  And  so  great  was  this 
plague  in  Numidia,  where  Micipsa  was  king,  that  eighty 
thousand  persons  died  ;  and  on  the  sea-coast,  near  Carthage 
and  Utica,  about  two  hundred  thousand  were  reported  to 
have  perished.  Thirty  thousand  soldiers,  appointed  as  the 
garrison  of  Africa,  and  stationed  in  Utica,  were  among  the 
number.  So  violent  was  the  destruction  that  the  bodies  of 
more  than  fifteen  hundred  of  these  soldiers,  from  one  gate 
of  the  city,  were  carried  and  buried  in  the  same  day.'^ 

St.  Augustine  also  mentions  a  plague  to  have  arisen  in 
Africa  from  the  same  cause,  which  destroyed  no  less  than 
eight  hundred  thousand  persons  (octigenta  hominum  millia) 
in  the  kingdom  of  Masanissa  alone,  and  many  more  in  the 
territories  bordering  upon  the  sea.* 

Blown  from  that  quarter  of  the  globe,  Locusts  have  oc- 
casionally visited  both  Italy  and  Spain.  The  former  coun- 
try was  severely  ravaged  by  myriads  of  these  desolating  in- 

1  Cf.  Ex.  X.  15;  Jer.  xlvi.   23;  Judg.  vi.  5,  viii.  12;  Nah.  iii.  1-3. 

2  .Toel,  ii.  2-10,  20. 

3  Oros,  Contra  Pag.,  1.  5,  c.  2. 

*  Kirb.  and  Sp.  Iiilrod.,  i.  217;  Cuv.  An.  Kingd. — Ins.,  ii.  206. 


traders,  in  the  year  591.  These  were  of  a  larger  size  than 
common,  as  we  are  informed  by  Mouifet,  who  quotes  an 
ancient  historian  ;  and  from  their  stench,  when  cast  into  the 
sea,  arose  a  pestilence  which  carried  off  near  a  million  of 
men  and  cattle.^ 

In  A.D.  6^7,  Syria  and  Mesopotamia  were  overrun  by 

"About  the  year  of  our  Lord  8T2,"  we  read  in  Wanley's 
Wonders,  "came  into  France  such  an  innumerable  company 
of  Locusts,  that  the  number  of  them  darkened  the  very 
light  of  the  sun ;  they  were  of  extraordinary  bigness,  had  a 
sixfold  order  of  wings,  six  feet,  and  two  teeth,  the  hardness 
whereof  surpassed  that  of  stone.  These  eat  up  every  green 
thing  in  all  the  fields  of  France.  At  last,  by  the  force  of 
the  winds,  they  were  carried  into  the  sea  (the  Baltic)  and 
there  drowned ;  after  which,  by  the  agitation  of  the  waves, 
the  dead  bodies  of  them  were  cast  upon  the  shores,  and  from 
the  stench  of  them  (together  with  the  famine  they  had  made 
with  their  former  devouring)  there  arose  so  great  a  plague, 
t]i:it  it  is  verily  thought  every  third  person  in  France  died  of 
it."^  These  Locusts  devoured  in  France,  on  an  average  every 
day,  one  hundred  and  forty  acres ;  and  their  daily  marches,  or 
distances  of  flight,  were  computed  at  twenty  miles.* 

In  12tl,  all  the  cornfields  of  Milan  were  destroyed;  and 
in  the  year  1339,  all  those  of  Lombardy.^  We  read  in 
Bateman's  Doorae,  that  in  1476,  ''grasshoppers  and  the 
great  rising  of  the  river  Isula  did  spoyle  al  Poland."  A 
famine  took  place  in  the  Venetian  territory  in  1478,  occa- 
sioned by  these  terrific  scourges,  in  which  thirty  thousand 
persons  are  reported  to  have  perished.  Mouflfet  mentions 
many  other  instances  of  their  devastations  in  Europe, — in 
France,  Spain,  Italy,  and  Germany.*^ 

A  passage  of  Locusts  in  France,  in  1613,  entirely  cut  up, 
even  to  the  very  roots,  more  than  fifteen  thousand  acres  of 
corn  in  the  neighborhood  of  Aries,  and  had  even  penetrated 
into  the  barns  and  granaries,  when,  as  it  were  by  Provi- 
dence, many  hundreds  of  birds,  especially  starlings,  came  to 

1  Mouff.,  Theat.  Ins.,  p.  123. 

2  Shaw,  Zool,  vi.  137. 

3  Wonders,  ii.  507. 

t  Shaw,  ZooL,  vi.  137.  5  rbi^i 

6  Thtatr.  Insect.,  p.  123. 


diminish  their  numbers.  Notwithstanding  this,  nothing 
could  be  more  astonishing  than  their  multiplication,  for  the 
fecundity  of  the  Locust  is  very  remarkable.  Upon  an  order 
issued  by  government,  for  the  collection  of  their  eggs,  more 
than  three  thousand  measures  were  collected,  from  each  of 
which,  it  was  calculated,  would  liave  issued  nearly  two  mil- 
lions of  young  ones.^  In  1650,  they  entered  Russia,  in  im- 
mense divisions,  in  three  different  places  ;  thence  passed  over 
into  Poland  and  Lithuania,  where  the  air  was  darkened  by 
their  numbers.  In  many  parts  they  lay  dead  to  the  depth 
of  four  feet.  Sometimes  they  covered  the  surface  of  the 
earth  like  a  dark  cloud,  loaded  the  trees,  and  the  destruc- 
tion which  they  produced  exceeded  all  calculation. ^  In 
1645,  immense  swarms  visited  the  islands  of  Formosa  and 
Tayowan,  and  caused  such  a  famine  that  eight  thousand 
persons  died  of  hunger.^ 

"  In  1649,"  says  Sir  Hans  Sloane,  "the  Locusts  destroyed 
all  the  products  of  the  island  of  Teneriffe.  They  came  from 
the  coast  of  Barbary,  the  wind  being  a  Levant  thence. 
They  flew  as  far  as  they  could,  then  one  alighted  in  the  sea, 
and  another  on  it,  so  that  one  after  another  they  made  a 
heap  as  big  as  the  greatest  ship  above  water,  and  were  es- 
teemed almost  as  many  under.  Those  above  water,  next 
day,  after  the  sun's  refreshing  them,  took  flight  again,  and 
came  in  clouds  to  the  island,  whence  the  inhabitants  had 
perceived  them  in  the  air,  and  had  gathered  all  the  soldiers 
of  the  island  and  of  Laguna  together,  being  t  or  8000  men, 
who  laying  aside  their  arms,  some  took  bags,  some  spades, 
and  having  notice  by  their  scouts  from  the  hills  when  they 
alighted,  they  went  straight  thither,  made  trenches,  and 
brought  their  bags  full,  and  covered  them  with  mould.  .  .  . 
After  two  months  fruitless  management  of  them  in  this 
manner,  the  ecclesiastics  took  them  in  hand  by  penances,  etc. 
But  all  would  not  do  :  the  Locusts  staid  their  four  months  ; 
cattle  eat  them  and  died,  and  so  did  several  men,  and  others 
stuck  out  in  botches.  The  other  Canary  islands  were  so 
troubled,  also,  that  they  were  forced  to  bury  their  provi- 
sions. They  were  troubled  forty  years  before  with  the  like 

^  Cuvier,  An.  Kingd. — Ins.,  ii.  212. 

2  Bingley,  Anim.  Biog.,  iii.  258. 

^  Hist,  of  Ins.  (Murray,  4888),  ii.  188. 

^  Nat.  Hist,  of  Jam..,  quot.  in  Gent.  Mag.,  xviii.  3G2. 


Barbot,  after  mentioning  a  famine  that  happened  in  jSTorth 
Guinea  in  1681,  which  destroyed  many  thousands  of  the  in- 
habitants of  the  Continent,  and  forced  many  to  sell  them- 
selves for  slaves,  to  only  get  sustenance,  says  these  fearful 
famines  are  also  some  years  occasioned  by  the  dreadful 
swarms  of  Locusts,  which  come  from  the  eastward  and  spread 
over  the  whole  country  in  such  prodigious  multitudes,  that 
they  darken  the  very  air,  passing  over  head  like  mighty 
clouds.  They  leave  nothing  that  is  green  wheresoever  they 
come,  either  on  the  ground  or  trees,  and  fly  so  swiftly  from 
place  to  place,  that  whole  provinces  are  devastated  in  a  very 
short  time.  Barbot  adds,  terrific  storms  of  hail,  wind,  and 
such  like  judgments  from  Heaven,  are  nothing  to  compare 
to  this,  which  when  it  happens,  there  is  no  question  to  be 
made  but  that  multitudes  of  the  natives  must  starve, 
having  no  neighboring  countries  to  supply  them  with  corn, 
because  those  round  about  them  are  no  better  husbands 
than  themselves,  and  are  no  less  liable  to  the  same  calami- 

Of  a  swarm,  which  in  the  year  1693  covered  four  square 
miles  of  ground,  a  German  author  has  made  the  following 
estimate.  Observing  that,  when  he  trod  on  the  ground,  at 
least  three  were  crushed,  and  that  in  a  square  German  meas- 
ure, less  than  an  English  foot,  ten  were  destroyed  ;  and  after 
determining  the  number  of  these  square  measures  in  the 
four  miles,  he  concluded  that  ninety-two  billions,  one  hun- 
dred and  sixty  millions  of  Locusts  were  congregated  on  the 
surface.  This  is  altogether  a  very  moderate  calculation,  for 
not  only  is  their  number  more  compact  in  breadth,  but  they 
are  often  piled  knee-high  on  the  earth. ^ 

In  1724,  Dr.  Shaw  was  a  witness  of  the  devastations  of 
these  insects  in  Barbary.  lie  has  given  us  a  description  of 
their  habits.^  For  four  successive  years,  from  1744  to  1747, 
Locusts  ravaged  the  southern  provinces  of  Spain  and  Por- 
tugal.* In  a  letter  from  Transylvania,  dated  August  22d, 
1747,  a  graphic  description  is  given  of  two  vast  columns 
that  overswept  that  country.  "They  form,"  says  the  writer, 
"  a  close  compact  column  about  fifteen  yards  deep,  in  breadth 
about  four  musket-shot,  and  in  length  about  four  leagues ; 

1  Churchill's  Col.  of  Vo7/.  and  Trav.,  v.  33. 

2  Ins.  (Murray,  1838),  ii.  188.  3  j^,/^.^  n  197^ 
*  Gent.  Mag.,  Ixx.  989. 



they  move  with  such  force,  or  rather  precipitation,  that  the 
air  trembles  to  such  a  degree  as  to  shake  the  leaves  upon 
the  trees,  and  they  darkened  the  sky  in  such  a  manner,  that 
when  they  passed  over  us  I  could  not  see  my  people  at 
twenty  feet  distance."^  This  flight  was  four  hours  in  pass- 
ing over  the  Red  Tower.  The  guards  here  attempted  to 
stop  them,  by  firing  cannon  at  them  ;  and  where,  indeed, 
the  balls  and  shot  swept  through  the  swarm,  they  gave  way 
and  divided  ;  but,  having  filled  up  their  ranks  in  a  moment, 
they  proceeded  on  their  journey.'^  In  an  item  dated  Her- 
manstadt,  July  24,  1148,  it  is  stated  that  on  the  day  before, 
a  hussar,  coming  from  the  plague  committee,  saw  such  a 
host  of  these  insects  near  Szanda,  that  they  covered  the 
country  for  a  mile  round,  and  were  so  thick,  that  he  was 
obliged  to  dismount  from  his  horse,  and  halt  for  three  hours, 
until  the  inhabitants  of  the  district,  coming  with  all  sorts  of 
instruments,  beat  about  and  forced  with  loud  cries  these 
pests  to  quit  the  spot.'^  In  another  item,  dated  Warsaw, 
August  15,  1748,  it  is  stated  that  a  certain  prince  sent  out 
soldiers  against  the  Locusts,  who  fired  upon  them  not  only 
with  small  arms,  but  with  cannons.  Thej  succeeded  in  di- 
viding the  Locusts,  but  unluckily  with  the  noise  frightened 
away  the  storks  and  cranes  which  daily  consume  many  of 
these  insects.*  Some  stragglers  from  these  swarms  which 
so  desolated  Wallachia,  Moldavia,  Transylvania,  Hungary, 
and  Poland,  in  the  years  1747  and  '48,  made  their  way  into 
England,  where  they  caused  some  alarm. ^  During  this  grand 
invasion  of  Europe,  they  even  crossed  the  Baltic,  and  visited 
Sweden  in  1749.  Charles  the  Twelfth,  in  Bessarabia,  im- 
agined himself,  it  is  said,  assailed  by  a  hurricane,  mingled 
with  tremendous  hail,  when  a  cloud  of  these  insects  suddenly 
falling,  and  covering  both  men  and  horses,  arrested  his  entire 
army  in  its  march. *^ 

During  the  devastations  committed  by  the  Locusts  in 
Spain  in  1754,  '55,  '56,  and  '57,  a  body  of  them  entered  the 

1  Phil.  Trans.,  vol.  xlvi.,  and  Gent.  Mag.,  xvii.  435.  2  /^/^/^ 

3  Ins.  (Murray,  1838),  ii.  190. 

^  Ibid.,  191.  Dr.  Shaw  says,  Governors  of  particular  provinces 
of  the  East  oftentimes  command  a  certain  number  of  the  military 
to  take  the  field  against  armies  of  Locusts,  with  a  train  of  artil- 
lery.— Zool.,  vi.  131,  note. 

^  Phil.  Trans.,  vol.  xlvi. 

6  Cuv.  An.  King. — Ins.,  ii.  211. 



church  of  Alraaden,  and  devoured  the  silk  garments  that 
adorned  the  images  of  the  saints,  not  sparing  even  the 
varnish  on  the  altars.^ 

In  1750  and  '53  Poland  was  again  devastated  by  Locusts.^ 

i  In  June,  1772,  there  were  several  swarms  of  "large  black 

flies  of  the  Locust  kind,"  that  did  incredible  damage  to  the 

fruits  of  the  earth,  seen  in  England.     Salt  water,  it  is  said, 

was  found  effectual  in  destroying  them.^ 

From  1778  to  1780  the  empire  of  Morocco  was  terribly 
devastated  by  Locusts :  every  green  thing  was  eaten  up,  not 
even  the  bitter  bark  of  the  orange  and  pomegranate  escap- 
ing— a  most  dreadful  famine  ensued.  The  poor  wandered 
over  the  country,  in  search  of  a  wretched  subsistence  from  the 
roots  of  plants.  They  picked,  from  the  dung  of  camels,  the 
undigested  grains  of  barley,  and  devoured  them  with  eager- 
ness. Vast  numbers  perished,  and  the  streets  and  roads 
were  strewed  with  the  unburied  carcasses.  On  this  sad  oc- 
casion, fathers  sold  their  children,  and  husbands  their  wives. 
When  they  visit  a  country,  says  Mr.  Jackson,  from  whom 
we  have  gathered  the  above  facts,  speaking  of  the  same 
empire,  it  behooves  every  one  to  lay  in  provision  for  a 
famine,  for  they  stay  from  three  to  seven  years.  When  they 
have  devoured  all  other  vegetables,  they  attack  the  trees, 
consuming  first  the  leaves  and  then  the  bark.* 

To  prevent  the  fatal  consequences  which  would  have  re- 
sulted from  a  passage  of  Locusts  in  1780  near  Bontzhida,  in 
Transylvania,  fifteen  hundred  persons  were  ordered  each  to 
gather  a  sack  full  of  the  insects,  part  of  which  were  crushed, 
part  burned,  and  part  interred.  Notwithstanding  this,  very 
little  diminution  was  remarked  in  their  numbers,  so  aston- 
ishing was  their  multiplication,  until  very  cold  and  sharp 
weather  had  come  on.  In  the  following  spring  there  were 
millions  of  eggs  disinterred  and  destroyed  by  the  people, 
who  were  levied  "en  masse"  for  the  operation;  but  not- 
withstanding all  this,  many  places  of  tolerable  extent  were 
still  to  be  found,  in  which  the  soil  was  covered  with  young 
Locusts,  so  that  not  a  single  spot  was  left  naked.     These 

1  Dillon's  Trav.  in  Spain,  quot.  in  Ins.  (Murray,  1838),  ii.  205. 

2  Gent.  Mag.,  xx.  382;   xxiii.  387. 

3  Ibid.,  xlii.  293. 

*  .Jackson's  Trav.  in  Morocco,  p.  105.     Cf.  Lempriere,  Pinkerton's 
Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  xv.  709. 


were  finally,  however,  swept  into  ditches,  the  opposite  sides 
of  which  were  provided  with  cloths  tightly  stretched,  and 
crushed. "^ 

When  the  provincial  governors  of  Spain  are  informed  in 
the  spring  that  Locusts  have  been  seen,  they  collect  the 
soldiers  and  peasants,  divide  them  into  companies  and  sur- 
round the  district.  Every  man  is  furnished  with  a  long 
broom,  with  which  he  strikes  the  ground,  and  thus  drives 
the  young  Locusts  toward  a  common  center,  where  a  vast 
excavation,  with  a  quantity  of  brushwood,  is  prepared  for 
their  reception,  and  where  the  flame  destroys  them.  Three 
thousand  men  were  thus  employed,  in  1780,  for  three  weeks, 
at  Zamora;  and  it  was  reckoned  that  the  quantity  collected 
exceeded  10,000  bushels."^  In  1783,  400  bushels  more  were 
collected  and  destroyed  in  the  same  way.^ 

Mr.  Barrow  informs  us  that  in  South  Africa,  in  1784  and 
1797,  two  thousand  square  miles  were  literally  covered  by 
Locusts,  which,  being  carried  into  the  sea  by  a  northwest 
wind,  formed,  for  fifty  miles  along  shore,  a  bank  three  or 
four  feet  high  ;  and  when  the  wind  was  in  the  opposite  point, 
the  horrible  odor  which  they  exhaled  was  perceptible  a 
hundred  and  fifty  miles  oflf.* 

The  immense  column  of  Locusts  which  ravaged  all  the 
Mahratta  territory,  and  was  thought  to  have  come  from 
Arabia,  extended,  Mr.  Kirby's  friend  told  him,  five  hundred 
miles,  and  was  so  dense  as  thoroughly  to  hide  the  sun,  and 
prevent  any  object  from  casting  a  shadow.  This  horde  was 
not  composed  of  the  migratory  Locust,  but  of  a  red  species, 
which  imparted  a  sanguine  color  to  the  trees  on  which  they 

Mr.  Forbes  describes  a  flight  of  Locusts  which  he  saw 
soon  after  his  arrival  at  Baroche  in  1779.  It  was  more  than 
a  mile  in  length,  and  half  as  much  in  breadth,  and  appeared, 
as  the  sun  was  in  the  meridian,  like  a  black  cloud  at  a  dis- 
tance. As  it  approached,  its  density  obscured  the  solar 
rays,  causing  a  gloom  like  that  of  an  eclipse,  over  the  gar- 

1  Cuv.  An.  King. — Ins.,  ii.  212. 

2  Gent.  Maff.,  Ixii.  543. 

3  Jf,id.,  liii.  526,  Pt.  I. 
^  Trnv.,  etc.,  257. 

5  K.  and  S.  Introd.,  i.  219. 


dens,  and  causing  a  noise  like  the  rushing  of  a  torrent. 
They  were  almost  an  hour  in  passing  a  given  point.^ 

In  another  place,  this  traveler  states  that,  in  one  con- 
siderable tract  near  the  confines  of  the  Brodera  district,  he 
witnessed  a  mournful  scene,  occasioned  by  a  scourge  of  Lo- 
custs. They  had,  some  time  before  he  came,  alighted  in 
that  part  of  the  country,  and  left  behind  them,  he  says, 
'*an  awful  contrast  to  the  general  beauty  of  that  earthly 
paradise."  The  sad  description  of  Hosea,  he  adds,  was 
literally  realized  :  "  That  which  the  palmer-worm  hath  left, 
hath  the  caterpillar  eaten.  They  have  laid  waste  the  vine, 
and  barked  the  fig-tree ;  they  have  made  it  clean  bare,  and 
the  branches  thereof  are  made  white  :  the  pomegranate- 
tree,  the  palm-tree  also,  and  the  apple-tree,  even  all  the 
trees  of  the  field  are  withered.  Howl,  0  ye  husbandmen  ! 
for  the  wheat  and  for  the  barley  ;  because  the  harvest  of  the 
field  is  perished.  How  do  the  beasts  groan  I  The  herds 
of  cattle  are  perplexed,  because  they  have  no  pasture  ;  yea, 
the  flocks  of  sheep  are  made  desolate  !"^ 

On  the  16th  of  May,  1800,  Buchanan  met  with  in  Mysore 
a  flight  of  Locusts  which  extended  in  length  about  three 
miles.  He  compares  the  noise  they  made  to  the  sound  of 
a  cataract.^  This  swarm  was  very  destructive  to  the  young 
crops  of  jola.* 

In  1811,  at  Smyrna,  at  right  angles  to  a  flight  of  Locusts, 
a  man  rode  forty  miles  before  he  got  rid  of  the  moving 
column.  This  immense  flight  continued  for  three  days  and 
nights,  apparently  without  intermission.  It  was  computed 
that  the  lowest  number  of  Locusts  in  this  swarm  must  have 
exceeded  168,608,563,200,200!  Captain  Beaufort  determ- 
ined that  the  Locusts  of  this  flight,  which  he  himself  saw, 
if  framed  into  a  heap,  would  have  exceeded  in  magnitude 
more  than  a  thousand  and  thirty  times  the  largest  pyramid 
of  Egypt ;  or  if  put  on  the  ground  close  together,  in  a  band 
of  a  mile  and  an  eighth  in  width,  would  have  encircled  the 
globe  !  Tills  immense  swarm  caused  such  a  famine  in  the 
district  of  Marwar,  that  the  natives  fled  for  subsistence  in  a 
living'torrent  into  Guzerat  and  Bombay  ;   and  out  of  every 

1  Orient.  Mem.,  ii.  273. 

2  ]bid,  iii.  338. 

3  Pinkerton's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  viii.  595. 

4  Ihid.,  viii.  613. 


hundred  of  these  Marwarees,  Captain  Carnac  estimates, 
ninety-nine  died  tliat  year  !  Near  tlie  town  of  Baroda,  these 
poor  people  perished  at  the  rate  of  five  hundred  a  day ;  and 
at  Alimedabad,  a  large  city  of  two  hundred  thousand  in- 
habitants, one  hundred  thousand  died  from  tliis  awful  visi- 
tation !^ 

In  1816,  Captain  Riley  met  with  a  flight  of  Locusts  in 
the  north  of  Africa,  which  extended  in  length  about  eight 
miles,  and  in  breadth  three.  He  tells  us,  also,  he  was  in- 
formed that  several  years  before  he  came  to  Mogadore, 
nearly  all  the  Locusts  in  the  empire,  which  at  that  time 
were  very  numerous,  and  had  laid  waste  the  country,  were 
carried  off  in  one  night,  and  drowned  in  the  Atlantic  Ocean  : 
that  their  dead  carcasses  a  few  days  afterward  were  driven 
by  winds  and  currents  on  shore,  all  along  the  western  coast, 
extending  from  near  Cape  Spartel  to  beyond  Mogadore, 
forming  in  many  places  immense  piles  on  the  beach :  that 
the  stench  arising  from  their  remains  was  intolerable,  and 
was  supposed  to  have  produced  the  plague  which  broke  out 
about  that  time  in  various  parts  of  the  Moorish  dominions. - 
Before  this  plague  in  1799,  Mr.  Jackson  tells  us,  from 
Mogadore  to  Tangier  the  face  of  the  earth  was  covered  by 
tiiem,  and  relates  the  following  singular  incident  which  oc- 
curred at  El  Araiche :  The  whole  region  from  the  confines 
of  the  Sahara  was  ravaged  by  the  Locusts ;  but  on  the  other 
side  of  the  river  El  Kos  not  one  of  them  was  to  be  seen, 
though  there  was  nothing  to  prevent  their  flying  over  it. 
Till  then  they  had  proceeded  northward ;  but  upon  arriving 
at  its  banks  they  turned  to  the  east,  so  that  all  the  country 
north  of  El  Araiche  was  full  of  pulse,  fruits  and  grain,  ex- 
hibiting a  most  striking  contrast  to  the  de'solation  of  the 
adjoining  district.  At  length  they  were  all  carried  by  a 
violent  hurricane  into  the  Western  Ocean  ;  the  shore,  as  in 
former  instances,  was  covered  by  their  carcasses,  and  a  pesti- 
lence (confirming  the  statement,  and  verifying  the  supposi- 
tion of  Captain  Riley)  was  caused  by  the  horrid  stench 
which  they  emitted  :  but  wiien  this  evil  ceased,  their  de- 
vastations were  followed  by  a  most  abundant  crop.^ 

In  1825  the  Russian  empire  was  overrun  to  a  very  alarm- 

1  Penmj  Mag.,  1843,  p.  231. 

2  Ntirrative,  p.  234,  and  p.  238. 

3  Trao.  in  Morocco,  p.  105. 


ing  extent  by  young  Locusts.  About  Kiew,  as  far  as  the  eye 
could  reach,  they  lay  piled  up  one  upon  another  to  the  height 
of  two  feet.  Through  the  government  of  Ekatharinoslaw 
and  Cherson  to  the  Black  Sea,  a  distance  of  about  400 
miles,  they  covered  the  ground  so  thickly  that  a  horse  could 
not  walk  fast  through  them.  The  sight  of  such  an  immense 
number,  says  an  eye-witness,  Mr.  Jaeger,  of  the  most  destruc- 
tive and  rapacious  insects,  justly  occasioned  a  melancholy 
foreboding  of  famine  and  pestilence,  in  case  they  should  in- 
vade the  cultivated  and  populous  countries  of  Russia  and 
Poland.  It  was  at  this  juncture,  however,  that  the  Emperor 
Alexander  sent  his  army  of  thirty  thousand  soldiers  to  de- 
stroy them.  These  forming  a  line  of  several  hundred  miles, 
and  advancing  toward  the  south,  attacked  them  with 
shovels,  and  collected  them,  as  far  as  possible,  in  sacks  and 
burned  them.  This  is  the  largest  army  of  soldiers  seat 
against  Locusts  we  have  any  record  of  ^ 

In  1824,  Locusts  made  their  appearance  at  the  Glen- 
Lynden  Colony  in  South  Africa,  being  the  first  time  they 
had  been  seen  there  since  1808.  In  1825,  they  continued 
to  advance  from  the  north;  in  1826,  the  corn  crops  at 
Glen-Lynden  were  totally  destroyed  by  them;  and  in  1827, 
1828,  and  1829,  they  extended  their  ravages  through  the 
whole  of  the  northern  and  southern  districts  of  the  colony. 
In  1830,  they  again  disappeared.^ 

The  following  graphic  description  of  the  swarm  that 
visited  Glen-Lynden  in  1825  is  from  the  pen  of  Mr.  Pringle. 
He  says  :  "  In  returning  to  Glen-Lynden,  we  passed  through 
a  flying  swarm,  which  had  exactly  the  appearance,  as  it  ap- 
proached, of  a  vast  snow-cloud  hanging  on  the  slope  of  a 
mountain  from  which  the  snow  was  falling  in  very  large 
flakes.  When  we  got  into  the  midst  of  them,  the  air  all 
around  and  above  was  darkened  as  by  a  thick  cloud;  and 
We  rushing  sound  of  the  wings  of  the  millions  of  these  in- 
sects was  as  loud  as  the  dash  of  a  mill-wheel The 

column  that  we  thus  passed  through  was,  as  nearly  as  I 
could  calculate,  about  half  a  mile  in  breadth,  and  from  two 
to  three  miles  in  length."^ 

1  Jaeg.  on  Ins.,  p.  103. 

2  Pringle's  S.  Africa,  p.  54.      The  Missionary  Moffat  has  written 
the  history  of  the  scourge  of  1826. — Miss.  Lab  ,  p.  447-9. 

3  Ibid. 


In  1835,  a  plague  of  Locusts  made  their  appearance  in 
China,  in  the  neighBorhood  of  Quangse,  and  in  the  western 
departments  of  Quangtung.  The  military  and  people  were 
ordered  out  to  exterminate  them,  as  they  had  done  two  years 
before.  A  more  rational  mode,  however,  was  adopted  by 
the  authorities,  of  offering  a  bounty  of  twelve  or  fifteen  cash 
per  catty  of  the  insects.  They  were  gathered  so  fast  for 
this  price,  that  it  was  immediately  lowered  to  five  or  six 
cash  per  catty.  A  strike  followed,  and  the  Locusts  were 
left  in  quiet  to  do  as  much  damage  as  they  could.  ^ 

Nieuhoflf  tells  us,  Locusts  in  the  East  Indies  are  so  destruc- 
tive that  the  inhabitants  are  oftentimes  obliged  to  change 
their  habitations,  for  want  of  sustenance.  He  adds  that 
this  has  frequently  happened  in  China  and  the  Island  of 

In  1828-9,  in  the  provinces  lying  between  the  Black  and 
Caspian  Seas,  Locusts  appeared  in  such  vast  numbers  as 
were  never  seen  in  that  country  before.'' 

In  1839,  Kaffraria  was  again  visited  by  Locusts,  which, 
together  with  the  war  at  that  time,  caused  so  great  a  famine 
that  many  persons  perished  for  want  of  subsistence.*  Again 
in  1849-50,  this  country  was  visited  by  this  dreadful  scourge. 
The  whole  country,  says  the  Rev.  Francis  Fleming,  was 
covered  with  them ;  and  when  they  arose,  the  cloud  was  so 
dense  that  this  gentleman  was  obliged  to  dismount,  and 
wait  till  they  passed  over.^ 

Mr.  Jules  Remy  says,  that  at  his  arrival  at  Salt  Lake,  he 
observed  upon  the  shore,  on  the  top  of  the  salt,  a  deposit  of 
a  foot  deep  which  was  entirely  composed  of  dead  Locusts — 
(Edipoda  corallipes.  These  insects,  driven  by  a  high  wind 
in  prodigiously  thick  clouds,  had  been  drowned  in  the  lake, 
after  having,  during  the  course  of  the  summer  (of  1855), 
destroyed  the  rising  crops,  and  even  the  prairie  grass.  A 
famine  ensued  ;  but  the  Mormons,  continues  Mr.  Reraf, 
only  saw  in  this  scourge  a  fresh  proof  of  the  truth  of  their 
religion,  because  it  had  happened,  as  among  the  Israelites, 
in  the  seventh  year  after  their  settlement  in  the  country.^ 

1  Chinese  Repository. 

2  Churchill's  Col   of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  ii.  317. 

3  Penny  Mag.      1843. 
*  Backhouse,  p.  264. 

5  Kaffraria,  p.  79. 

6  Remy  &  Brenchley's  Voy.  to  G.  Salt  Lake  City,  iv.  440,  note; 
Burton's  City  of  the  Saints,  p.  345. 



According  to  Lieutenant  Warren,  whose  graphic  descrip- 
tion is  here  borrowed,  these  devastating  insects  of  our  great 
western  plains  are  "nearly  the  same  as  the  Locusts  of 
Egypt;  and  no  one,"  continues  this  officer,  "who  has  not 
traveled  on  the  prairie,  and  seen  for  himself,  can  appre- 
ciate the  magnitude  of  the  swarms.  Often  they  fill  the  air 
for  many  miles  in  extent,  so  that  an  inexperienced  eye  can 
scarcely  distinguish  their  appearance  from  that  of  a  shower 
of  rain  or  the  smoke  of  a  prairie  fire.  The  height  of  their 
flight  may  be  somewhat  appreciated,  as  Mr.  Evans  saw  them 
above  his  head,  as  far  as  their  size  would  render  them  visi- 
ble, while  standing  on  the  top  of  a  peak  of  the  Rocky  Mount- 
ains 8500  feet  above  the  plain,  and  an  elevation  of  14,500 
above  that  of  the  sea,  in  the  region  where  the  snow  lies  all 
the  year.  To  a  person  standing  in  one  of  the  swarms  as 
they  pass  over  and  around  him,  the  air  becomes  sensibly 
darkened,  and  the  sound  produced  by  their  wings  resembles 
that  of  the  passage  of  a  train  of  cars  on  a  railroad,  when 
standing  two  or  three  hundred  yards  from  the  track.  The 
Mormon  settlements  have  suffered  more  from  the  ravages  of 
these  insects  than  probably  all  other  causes  combined.  They 
destroyed  nearly  all  the  vegetables  cultivated  last  year  at  Fort 
Randall,  and  extended  their  ravages  east  as  far  as  lowa."^ 

The  Mormons,  in  their  simple  and  picturesque  descrip- 
tions, say  that  these  insects  ("Crickets" — (Edvpoda  coral- 
lipes,  Haldemars)  are  the  produce  of  "  a  cross  between  the 
Spider  and  the  Buifalo.'" 

In  Egypt,  in  1843,  the  popular  idea  was  that  the  hordes 
of  Locusts,  which  were  then  ravaging  the  laud,  were  sent  by 
the  comet  observed  about  that  time  for  twelve  days  in  the 

Pliny,  in  the  words  of  his  translator,  Holland,  says : 
"Many  a  time  have  the  Locusts  been  knowne  to  take  their 
fliglit  out  of  Afifricke,  and  with  whole  armies  to  infest  Italic  : 
many  a  time  have  the  people  of  Rome,  fearing  a  great  fam- 
ine and  scarcity  toward,  beene  forced  to  have  recourse  unto 
Sybil's  bookes  for  remedie,  and  to  avert  the  ire  of  the  gods. 

'  Quot.  by  Burton,  City  of  the  Saints,  p.  86.  Cf.  Long's  Exped.,  ii. 

2  Remy  and  Brenchley's  Voy.  to  G.  S.  Lake  City,  i.  440,  note; 
Burton's  City  of  the  Saints,  p.  345. 

3  Lepsius,  Disc,  in  Egypt,  p.  50. 



In  the  Cyrenaick  region  within  Barbarie,  ordained  it  is  by 
law,  every  three  years  to  wage  warre  against  them,  and  so 

to  conquer  them Yea,  and  a  grievous  punishment 

lieth  upon  him  that  is  negligent  in  this  behalf,  as  if  hee  were 
a  traitour  to  his  prince  and  countrey.  Moreover,  within 
the  Island  Lemnos  there  is  a  certaine  proportion  and  measure 
set  down,  how  many  and  what  quantity  every  man  shall  kill ; 
and  they  are  to  exhibit  unto  the  magistrate  a  just  and  true 
account  thereof,  and  namely,  to  shew  what  measure  full  of 
dead  Locusts.  And  for  this  purpose  they  make  much  of 
laies,  Dawes,  and  Choughs,  whom  they  do  honour  highly, 
because  they  doe  flie  opposite  against  the  Locusts,  and  so 
destroy  them.  Moreover  in  Syria,  they  are  forced  to  levie 
a  warlike  power  of  men  against  them,  and  to  make  ridance 
by  that  means. "^ 

Democritus  says,  if  a  cloud  of  Locusts  is  coming  forward, 
let  all  persons  remain  quiet  within  doors,  and  they  will  pass 
over  the  place ;  but  if  they  suddenly  arrive  before  they  are 
observed,  they  will  hurt  nothing,  if  you  boil  bitter  lupines, 
or  wild  cucumbers,  in  brine,  and  sprinkle  it,  for  they  will  im- 
mediately die.  They  will  likewise  pass  over  the  subjacent 
spot,  continues  Democritus,  if  you  catch  some  bats  and  tie 
them  on  the  high  trees  of  the  place ;  and  if  you  take  and 
burn  some  of  the  Locusts,  they  are  rendered  torpid  from  the 
smell,  and  some  indeed  die,  and  some  drooping  their  wings, 
await  their  pursuers,  and  they  are  destroyed  by  the  sun. 
You  will  drive  away  Locusts,  continues  this  same  writer,  if 
you  prepare  some  liquor  for  them,  and  dig  trenches,  and  be- 
sprinkle them  with  the  liquor;  for  if  you  come  there  after- 
ward, you  will  find  them  oppressed  with  sleep;  but  how  you 
are  to  destroy  them  is  to  be  your  concern.  A  Locust  will 
toych  nothing,  he  concludes,  if  you  pound  absinthium,  or  a 
leek,  or  centaury  with  water,  and  sprinkle  it.^ 

Pidymus  says,  to  preserve  vines  from  that  species  of 
Locusts  called  by  the  ancients  Bruchus,  set  three  grains  of 
mustard  around  the  stem  of  the  vine  at  the  root;  for  these 
being  thus  set,  have  the  power  of  destroying  the  Bruchus.^ 

^'ieuhoff  tells  us  that  when  a  swarm  of  Locusts  is  seen  in 
China,  the  inhabitants,  to  prevent  their  alighting,  "march  to 
and  again  the  fields  with  their  colors  flying,  shouting  and 

1  Nat.  Hist.,  xi.  29;   Holland,  Pt.  I.  p.  327,  F-H. 

2  Owen's  Geojjonika,  ii.  137-8.  ^  Ibid.,  138. 


hallooing  all  the  while ;  never  leaving  them  till  they  are 
driven  into  the  sea,  or  some  river,  where  they  fall  down  and 
are  drowned."^ 

Yolney  says,  that  w^hen  the  Locusts  first  make  their  ap- 
pearance on  the  frontiers  of  Syria,  the  inhabitants  strive  to 
drive  them  off  by  raising  large  clouds  of  smoke;  and  if,  as 
it  too  frequently  happens,  their  herbs  and  wet  straw  fail  them, 
they  dig  trenches,  in  which  they  bury  them  in  great  numbers. 
The  most  elhcacious  destroyers  of  these  insects  are,  how- 
ever, he  adds,  the  south  and  southeasterly  winds,  and  the 
bird  called  the  Samarraar.^ 

Capt.  Riley  tells  us,  it  is  said  at  Mogadore,  and  believed 
by  the  Moors,  Christians,  and  Jews,  that  the  Bereberies  in- 
habiting the  Atlas  Mountains  have  the  power  to  destroy 
every  flight  of  Locusts  that  comes  from  the  south,  and  from 
the  east,  and  thus  ward  off  this  scourge  from  all  the  coun- 
tries north  and  west  of  this  stupendous  ridge,  merely  by 
building  large  fires  on  the  parts  of  the  mountains  over 
which  the  Locusts  are  known  always  to  pass,  and  in  the 
season  when  they  are  likely  to  appear,  which  is  at  a  definite 
period,  within  a  certain  number  of  days  in  almost  every  year. 
The  Atlas  being  high,  and  the  peaks  covered  with  snow, 
these  insects  become  chilled  in  passing  over  them,  when, 
seeing  the  fires,  they  ar.e  attracted  by  the  glare,  and  plunge 
into  the  flame.  What  degree  of  credit  ought  to  be  attached 
to  this  opinion,  Capt.  Riley  says  he  does  not  know,  but  is 
certain  that  the  Moorish  Sultan  used  to  pay  a  considerable 
sum  of  money  yearly  to  certain  inhabitants  of  the  sides  of 
the  Atlas,  in  order  to  keep  the  Locusts  out  of  his  dominions. 
He  also  adds,  the  Moors  and  Jews  affirmed  to  him,  that 
during  the  time  in  which  the  Sultan  paid  the  said  yearly 
stipend  punctually,  not  a  Locust  was  to  be  seen  in  his  do- 
minions ;  but  that  when  the  Emperor  refused  to  pay  the 
stipulated  sum,  because  no  Locusts  troubled  his  country, 
and  thinking  he  had  been  imposed  upon,  that  the  very  same 
year  the  Locusts  again  made  their  appearance,  and  have 
continued  to  lay  waste  the  country  ever  since. '^ 

An  impostor,  who  is  believed  to  have  been  a  French  ad- 
venturer, at  one  time,  it  is  said,  endeavored  to  persuade  the 

1  Pinkerton's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  vii.  257. 

2  Volney's  Trav.,  i.  387. 

3  Riley's  Narrative,  p.  236-7. 


people  of  Morocco  that  he  could  destroy  all  the  Locusts  by 
a  chemical  process.^ 

The  superstitious  Tartars  of  the  Crimea,  in  order  to  rid 
their  country  of  its  most  destructive  enemy,  the  Locusts,  at 
one  time  sent  over  to  Asia  Minor,  whence  these  insects 
had  come,  to  procure  Dervises  to  drive  them  away  by  their 
incantations,  etc.  These  divines  prayed  around  the  mosques, 
and,  as  a  charm,  ordered  water  to  be  hung  out  on  the  mina- 
rets, which,  with  the  prayers,  were  meant  to  entice  a  species 
of  blackbird  to  come  in  multitudes  and  devour  the  Locusts  ! 
The  water  thus  hung  out  is  said  to  be  still  preserved  in  the 
mosques.  On  this  occasion,  the  Dervises  collected  eighty 
thousand  rubles,  the  poorest  shepherd  giving  half  a  ruble. -^ 

We  read  in  "Purchas's  Pilgrims,"  of  Locusts  being  exor- 
cised and  excommunicated,  so  that  they  immediately  flew 
away  !^  From  this  interesting  collection  the  following  is 
clipped  :  "In  the  yeere  1603,  at  Fremona,  great  misery  hap- 
pened by  Grasse-hoppers,  from  which  Paez  freed  the  Catho- 
likes,  by  Letanies  and  sprinkling  the  Fields  with  Holy-water ; 
when  as  the  Fields  of  Heretikes,  seuered  only  by  a  Ditch, 
were  spoyled  by  them.  Yea,  a  Heretike  vsing  this  sacred 
sprinkling,  preserued  his  corne,  which,  to  a  Catholike  neg- 
lecting in  one  Field,  was  lost,  and  preserued  in  another  by 
that  coniured  aspersion  (so  neere  of  kinne  are  these  Locusts 
to  the  Deuill,  which  is  said  to  hate  Holy-water)."^ 

In  the  south  of  Europe  rewards  are  oflFerecl  for  the  col- 
lection both  of  the  Locusts  and  their  eggs;  and  at  Mar- 
seilles, it  is  on  record  that,  in  the  year  1613,  20,000  francs 
were  paid  for  this  purpose.  In  1825,  the  same  city  paid  a 
sum  of  6200  francs  for  destroying  these  pests  to  agricul- 
ture.^ We  read  in  the  eighty-first  volume  of  the  Gentle- 
man's Magazine,  that  most  of  the  Agricultural  Societies  of 
Italy  have  offered  premiums  for  the  best  method  of  destroy- 
ing Locusts :  that  in  many  districts  several  thousand  persons 
are  employed  in  searching  for  the  eggs;  that  in  four  days 
the  inhabitants  of  the  district  of  Ofauto  collected  at  one 
time  80,000  sacks  full,  which  were  thrown  into  the  river.'' 

1  Kichardson's  Sahara,  i.  338. 

2  The  Mirror,  xv.  429. 

3  Pllr/r.,  ii.  1047. 
*  Ibid.,  ii.  1186. 

5  Baird's  Cyclop,  of  Nat.  Set. 

6  Gent.  Mag.,  Ixxxi.  (Pt.  II.}  273. 



The  noise  Locusts  make  when  engaged  in  the  work  of 
destruction  has  been  compared  to  the  sound  of  a  flame  of 
fire  driven  by  the  wind,  and  the  effect  of  their  bite  to  that  of 
fire,^  Volney  says:  "The  noise  they  make,  in  browsing  on 
the  trees  and  herbage,  may  be  heard  at  a  great  distance,  and 
resembles  that  of  an  array  foraging  in  secret."  His  follow- 
ing sentence  may  also  be  introduced  here:  "The  Tartars 
themselves  are  a  less  destructive  enemy  than  these  little  ani- 
mals.'" Robbins  compares  their  noise  to  that  of  small  pigs 
when  eating  corn.^  The  noise  produced  by  their  flight  and 
approach,  the  poet  Southey  has  strikingly  described : 

Onward  they  came  a  dark  continuous  cloud 
Of  congregated  myriads  numberless, 
The  rushing  of  whose  wings  was  as  the  sound 
Of  a  broad  river  headlong  in  its  course 
Plunged  from  a  mountain  summit,  or  the  roar 
Of  a  wild  ocean  in  the  autumn  storm. 
Shattering  its  billows  on  a  shore  of  rocks!* 

Another  comparison  may  be  introduced  here,  to  give  some 
idea  of  the  infinite  numbers  of  these  insects.  Dr.  Clarke 
compares  a  cloud  of  them  to  a  flight  of  snow  when  the 
flakes  are  carried  obliquely  by  the  wind.  They  covered  his 
carriage  and  horses,  and  the  Tartars  assert  that  people  are 
sometimes  suffocated  by  them.  The  whole  face  of  nature 
might  have  been  described  as  covered  with  a  living  veil. 
They  consisted  of  two  species — Locusta  tariarica  and  L. 
migratoria ;  the  first  is  almost  twice  the  size  of  the  second, 
and,  because  it  precedes  it,  is  called  by  the  Tartars  the 
herald  or  messenger.^ 

In  the  Account  of  the  admirable  Voyage  of  Domingo 
Gonsales,  the  little  Spaniard,  to  the  World  of  the  Moon,  by 
Help  of  several  Gansa's,  or  large  Geese,  we  find  the  follow- 
ing :  "  One  accident  more  befel  me  worth  mention,  that  during 
my  stay,  I  say,  I  saw  a  kind  of  a  reddish  cloud  coming  to- 
ward me,  and  continually  approaching  nearer,  which,  at  last, 
I  perceived,  was  nothing  but  a  huge  swarm  of  Locusts.  He 
that  reads  the  discources  of  learned  men  concernino;  them 

1  A^ide  Bochart,  Hierozoic,  L.  IV.  c.  5,  474-5. 

2  Volney,  Trav.,  i.  304. 

3  Robbins'  Journal,  p^228. 
*  Southey's  Thalaba,  i.  171. 
6  Clarke's  Travels,  i.  348. 



(as  John  Leo,  of  Africa,  and  others,  who  relate  that  they 
are  seen  for  several  days  in  the  air  before  they  fall  on  the 
earth),  and  adds  thereto  this  experience  of  mine,  will  easily 
conclude  that  they  can  come  from  no  other  place  than  the 
globe  of  the  raoon."^ 

To  accompany  this  piece  of  satire,  the  following  suits 

A  Chinese  author,  quoted  by  Rev.  Thomas  Smith,  ob- 
serves, that  Locusts  never  appear  in  China  but  when  great 
floods  are  followed  by  a  very  dry  season ;  and  that  it  is  his 
opinion  that  they  are  hatched  by  the  sun  from  the  spawn  of 
fish  left  by  the  waters  on  the  ground  !^ 

So  far  the  history  of  the  Locust  has  been  but  a  series  of 
the  greatest  calamities  which  human  nature  has  suffered — 
famine,  pestilence,  and  death.  No  wonder  that,  in  all  ages 
and  times,  these  insects  have  so  deeply  impressed  the  imag- 
ination, that  almost  all  people  have  looked  on  them  with 
superstitious  horror.  We  have  shown  how  that  their  de- 
vastations have  entered  into  the  history  of  nations.  Their 
effigies,  too,  like  those  of  other  conquerors  of  the  earth, 
have  been  perpetuated  in  coins. 

We  are  the  army  of  the  great  God,  and  we  lay  ninety-and- 
nine  eggs ;  were  the  hundredth  put  forth,  the  world  would  be 
ours — such  is  the  speech  the  Arabs  put  into  the  mouth  of 
the  Locust.  And  such  is  the  feeling  the  Arabs  entertain  of 
this  insect,  that  they  give  it  a  remarkable  pedigree,  and  the 
following  description  of  its  person :  It  has  the  head  of  the 
horse,  the  horns  of  the  stag,  the  eye  of  the  elephant,  the 
neck  of  the  ox,  the  breast  of  the  lion,  the  body  of  the  scor- 
pion, the  hip  of  the  camel,  the  legs  of  the  stork,  the  wings 
of  the  eagle,  and  the  tail  of  the  dragon.^ 

The  Mohammedans  say,  that  after  God  had  created  man 
from  clay,  of  that  which  was  left  he  made  the  Locust :  and 

1  Harleian  lUisceL,  ii.  523. 

^  Xaiure  and  Art,  vi.  109. 

3  Bochart,  Ilierozoic,  Pt,  II  L.  iv.  c.  5,  475. — Much  of  this  descrip- 
tion is  quite  oriental,  but  such  is  the  general  resemblance  to  some  of 
the  animals  mentioned,  that  in  Italy  it  still  bears  the  name  of  "Caval- 
letta."  A  German  name  for  this  Locust,  as  well  as  the  Grasshopper 
(before  mentioned),  is  the  "Hay-horse."  About  the  Locust's  neck, 
too,  the  integuments  have  some  resemblanCi^  to  the  trappings  of  a 
horse;  some  species,  however,  have  the  appearance  of  being  hooded. 
In  the  Bible,  Locusts  are  compared  to  horses. — .loel,  ii.  4 ;  Kev.  ix.  7. 
Ray  says,  '■'■Caput  oblvngum,  cqui  in^tar prona  ■y^ecians.''^ 

LOCUSTlDiE — LOCUSTS.  *  119 

in  utter  despair,  they  look  upon  this  devastating  scourge  as 
a  just  chastisement  from  heaven  for  their  or  their  nation's 
sins,  or  as  directed  by  that  fatality  in  which  they  all  be- 

The  wings  of  some  Locusts  being  spotted,  were  thought 
by  many  to  be  leaves  from  the  book  of  fate,  in  which  letters 
announcing  the  destiny  of  nations  were  to  be  read.  Paul 
Jetzote,  professor  of  Greek  literature  at  the  Gymnasium  of 
Stettin,  wrote  a  work  on  the  meaning  of  three  of  these  let- 
ters, which  were,  according  to  him,  to  be  seen  on  the  wings 
of  those  Locusts  which  visited  Silesia  in  HI 2.  These  let- 
ters were  B.  E.  S.,  and  formed  the  initials  of  the  Latin 
words  "Bella  Erunt  Saeva,"  or  "Babel  Est  Solitudo;"  also 
the  German  words,  "Bedeutet  Erschreckliche  Schlacten," 
portending  frightful  battles,  "Bedeutet  und  Erfreuliche 
Siege,"  portending  happy  victories.  There  are  Greek  and 
Hebrew  sentences  likewise,  in  which,  no  doubt,  the  pro- 
fessor showed  as  much  learning,  judgment,  and  spirit  of 
prophecy  as  in  those  already  quoted.^ 

A  quite  common  belief  in  our  own  country  is,  that  every 
Locust's  wing  is  marked  with  either  the  letter  W,  portend- 
ing War,  or  the  letter  P,  portending  Peace. 

Not  content  with  the  dreadful  presence  of  this  plague,  the 
inhabitants  of  most  countries  took  that  opportunity  of  add- 
ing to  their  present  misery  by  prognosticating  future  evils. 
The  direction  of  their  flight  pointed  out  the  kingdom  doomed 
to  bow  under  the  divine  wrath.  The  color  of  the  insect 
designated  the  national  uniform  of  such  armies  as  were  to 
go  forth  and  conquer.^ 

Aldrovandus  states,  on  the  authority  of  Cruntz,  that 
Tamerlane's  army  being  infested  by  Locusts,  that  chief 
looked  on  it  as  a  warning  from  God,  and  desisted  from  his 
i  designs  on  Jerusalem.* 

Mouffet  says  :  "  If  any  credit  may  be  given  to  Apomasaris, 
a  man  most  learned  in  the  learning  of  the  Indians,  Persians, 
and  Egyptians,  to  dream  of  the  coming  of  Locusts  is  a  sign 
of  an  array  coming  against  us,  and  so  much  as  they  shall 
seem  to  hurt  or  not  hurt  us,  so  shall  the  enemy. "^ 

1  Riley's  Narrative,  p.  231. 

2  Ins.  (Murray,  1838),  ii.  186. 

^  Ibid.,  1^1.  ^  Ibid. 

5  Tkeatr.  Ins..  p.  125.     TopseVs  llisl.  of  Beasts,  p.  088. 


We  now  turn  to  the  history  of  the  Locust  as  an  article 
of  food — a  striking  benefit  directly  derived  from  insects. 
For  as  they  are  the  greatest  destroyers  of  food,  so  as  some 
recompense  they  furnish  a  considerable  supply  of  it  to  nu- 
merous nations — as  they  cause,  they  are  frequently  the  means 
of  preventing  famines.  They  are  recorded  to  have  done 
this  from  the  remotest  antiquity. 

In  the  curious  account  given  by  Alexis  of  a  poor  Athe- 
,nian  family's  provisions,  mention  of  this  insect  is  found : 

Foi'  our  best  and  daintiest  cheer, 
Through  the  bright  half  of  the  year, 
Is  but  acorns,  onions,  peas, 
Ochros,  lupines,  radishes, 
Vetches,  wild  pears  nine  and  ten, 
With  a  Locust  now  and  then.i 

Diodorus  Siculus,  who  lived  about  threescore  years  be- 
fore our  Saviour's  birth,  first,  if  I  mistake  not,  described 
the  Acridophagi,  or  Locust-eaters,  of  Ethiopia.  He  says 
they  are  smaller  than  other  men,  of  lean  and  meager 
bodies,  and  exceeding  black:  that  in  the  spring  the  south 
winds  rise  high,  and  drive  an  infinite  number  of  Locusts  out 
of  the  desert,  of  an  extraordinary  bigness,  furnished  with 
most  dirty  and  nasty  colored  wings ;  and  these  are  plentiful 
food  and  provision  for  them  all  their  days.  This  historian 
has  also  given  us  an  account  of  their  peculiar  mode  of 
catching  these  insects  :  In  their  country  there  is  a  large  and 
deep  vale,  extending  far  in  length  for  many  furlongs  to- 
gether :  all  over  this  they  lay  heaps  of  wood  and  other 
combustible  material,  and  when  the  swarms  of  Locusts  are 
driven  thither  by  the  force  of  the  winds,  then  some  of  the 
inhabitants  go  to  one  part  of  the  valley,  and  some  to  another, 
and  set  the  grass  and  other  combustible  matter  on  fire,  which 
was  before  thrown  among  the  piles ;  whereupon  arises  a 
great  and  suffocating  smoke,  which  so  stifles  the  Locusts  as 
they  fly  over  the  vale,  that  they  soon  fall  down  dead  to  the 
ground.  This  destruction  of  them,  he  continues,  is  con- 
tinued for  many  days  together,  so  that  they  lie  in  great 
heaps ;  and  the  country  being  full  of  salt,  they  gather  these 
heaps  together,  and  season  them  sufficiently  with  this  salt, 
which  gives  them  an  excellent  relish,  and  preserves  them  a 

1  St,  John's  Man.  and  Cast,  of  And .  Greeks,  iii.  95. 


long  time  sweet,  so  that  they  have  food  from  these  insects  all 
the  year  round. 

Diodorus  concludes  his  history  of  this  people,  with  an 
account  of  the  strange  and  wonderful  death  that  comes  to 
them  at  an  early  age,  the  result  of  eating  this  kind  of  food  : 
They  are  exceeding  short-lived,  never  living  to  be  over 
forty ;  and  when  they  grow  old,  winged  lice  breed  in  their 
flesh,  not  only  of  divers  sorts,  but  of  horrid  and  ugly  shapes ; 
that  this  plague  begins  first  at  the  abdomen  and  breast,  and 
in  a  short  time  eats  and  consumes  the  whole  body.  (Phthi- 
riasis.  y 

Strabo,  most  probably  quoting  frora'the  above  passage 
from  Diodorus,  speaks  of  a  nation  bordering  on  that  of  the 
Struthophagi,  or  Bird-eaters,  whose  food  consisted  entirely 
of  Locusts,  and  who  were  carried  off  by  the  same  most  horri- 
ble disease.^ 

Pliny  remarks  :  "  The  people  of  the  East  countries  make 
their  food  of  grasshoppers,  even  the  very  Parthians,  who 
otherwise  abound  in  wealth.'"^ 

The  Arabs,  who  are  compelled  at  the  present  day  to  in- 
habit the  desert  of  Sahara,  welcome  the  approach  of  Locusts 
as  the  means,  oftentimes,  of  saving  them  from  famishing 
with  hunger.  Robbins  tells  us  their  manner  of  preparing 
these  insects  for  food  is,  by  digging  a  deep  hole  in  the 
ground,  building  a  fire  at  the  bottom,  and  filling  it  with 
wood.  Then,  after  the  earth  is  heated  as  hot  as  possible, 
and  the  coals  and  embers  taken  out,  they  prepare  to  fill  the 
cavity  with  the  live  Locusts,  confined  in  a  bag  holding  about 
five  bushels.  Several  hold  the  bag  perpendicularly  over  the 
hole  with  the  mouth  near  the  surface  of  the  ground,  while 
others  stand  round  with  sticks.  The  bag  is  then  opened, 
and  the  Locusts  shaken  with  great  force  into  the  hot  pit, 
while  the  surrounding  persons  immediately  throw  sand  upon 
them  to  prevent  their  flying  off.  The  mouth  of  the  hole  is 
now  completely  covered  with  sand,  and  another  fire  built 
upon  the  top  of  it.  When  the  Locusts  are  thoroughly  roast- 
ed and  become  cool,  they  are  picked  out  with  the  hand, 
thrown  upon  tent-cloths,  or  blankets,  and  placed   in   the 

1  Diod.  Sic.  mat.,  L.  III.  c.  2.     Booth's  Trans.,  170-1. 

2  Strabo.  Geoff.,  L.  XVI.  c.  4,  ^13. 

3  Nat.  Hist.,  xi.  26.     Holl.  Pt.  I.  p.  325.  E.    Cf.  Pliny,  Xat.  Illst., 
xi.  29. 


sua  to  dry.  During  this  process,  which  requires  two  or 
three  days,  they  must  be  watched  with  the  utmost  care,  to 
prevent  the  live  Locusts  from  devouring  them,  if  a  fliglit 
should  heppen  to  be  passing  at  the  time.  When  perfectly 
dry,  they  are  pounded  slightly,  pressed  into  bags,  or  skins, 
and  are  ready  for  transportation.  To  prepare  thera  now  for 
present  eating,  they  are  pulverized  in  mortars,  and  mixed 
with  water  sufficient  to  make  a  kind  of  dry  pudding.  They 
are,  however,  sometimes  eaten  singly  without  pulverizing, 
after  breaking  off  the  head,  wings,  and  legs.  Mr.  Robbins 
considers  them  nourishing  food.^ 

Locusts  are  sometimes  boiled  at  Wadinoon  for  food  for 
men  and  beasts.^ 

The  Arabs  of  Morocco,  we  learn  from  Mr.  Jackson, 
esteem  Locusts  a  great  delicacy ;  and,  during  the  summer 
of  1799  and  the  spring  of  1800,  after  the  plague  had 
almost  depopulated  Barbary,  dishes  of  them  were  served 
up  at  the  principal  repasts.  Their  usual  way  of  dressing 
these  insects,  was  to  boil  them  in  water  half  an  hour,  then 
sprinkle  them  with  salt  and  pepper,  and  fry  them,  adding  a 
little  vinegar.  The  body  of  the  insect  is  only  eaten,  and 
resembles,  according  to  this  gentleman,  the  taste  of  prawns. 
For  their  stimulating  qualities,  the  Moors  prefer  them  to 
pigeons.  A  person  may  eat  a  plateful  of  them  containing 
two  or  three  hundred  without  any  ill  effects.^  In  another 
place,  however,  Mr.  Jackson  says  the  poor  people,  when 
obliged  to  live  altogether  on  this  kind  of  food,  become  mea- 
ger and  indolent.^ 

In  Morocco,  the  price  of  provisions  falls  when  the  Locusts 
have  entered  the  neighborhood.^ 

The  authority  of  Capt.  Riley  is,  that  Locusts  are  esteemed 
very  good  food  by  the  Moors,  Arabs,  and  Jews  of  Barbary, 
who  catch  largo  numbers  of  thera  in  their  season,  and  throw 
them,  while  alive  and  jumping,  into  a  pan  of  boiling  argan 
oil,  where  they  are  allowed  to  remain,  hissing  and  frying, 
till  their  wings  are  burned  off  and  their  bodies  sufficiently 
cooked ;  they  are  then  poured  out  and  eaten.     Riley  says 

1  Rob.  Journal,  p.  172. 

2  Ihid.,  p.  228. 

3  .Jackson's  Morocco,  p.  104. 
*  lUd.,  p.  106. 

5  Wand,  and  Adv.  in  S.  Afr.,  i.  131 


they  resemble,  in  consistence  and  flavor,  the  yelks  of  hard- 
boiled  hens'  eggs.^ 

Capt.  Beecliey  tells  us  he  saw  many  asses,  heavily  laden 
with  Locusts  for  food,  driven  into  the  town  of  Mesurata,  in 

Barth,  in  Central  Africa,  saw  whole  calabashes  filled  with 
roasted  Locusts,  which,  he  says,  occasionally  form  a  consider- 
able part  of  the  food  of  the  natives,  particularly  if  their 
grain  has  been  destroyed  by  this  plague,  as  they  can  then 
enjoy  not  only  the  agreeable  flavor  of  the  dish,  but  also 
take  a  pleasant  revenge  for  the  ravages  of  their  fields.^ 

Adanson,  after  describing  an  immense  swarm  of  Locusts 
that  covered  an  extent  of  several  leagues  which  he  saw, 
says  the  negroes  of  Gambia  eat  these  insects,  and  have  dif- 
ferent ways  of  dressing  them — some  pounding  and  boiling 
them  in  milk,  others  only  boiling  them  on  coals.* 

Dr.  Sparrman  says  the  Hottentots  rejoice  greatly  upon 
the  arrival  of  the  Locusts,  although  they  never  fail  to  de- 
stroy every  particle  of  verdure  on  the  ground.  But,  con- 
tinues the  doctor,  they  make  themselves  ample  amends  for 
this  loss,  for,  seizing  these  marauding  animals,  they  eat  them 
in  such  numbers  as,  in  the  space  of  a  few  days,  to  get  visi- 
bly fatter  and  in  a  better  condition.  The  females  are  prin- 
cipally eaten,  especially  when  about  to  migrate,  before  they 
are  able  to  fly,  when  their  wings  are  short  and  their  bodies 
heavy  and  distended  with  eggs.  The  soup  prepared  of 
these  is  of  a  brown  coffee  color,  and,  when  cooled,  from  the 
eggs  has  a  fat  and  greasy  appearance.^ 

Dr.  Sparrman  also  relates  a  curious  notion  which  the 
Hottentots  about  the  Yisch  River  have  with  respect  to  the 
origin  of  the  Locusts  :  that  they  proceed  from  the  good  will 
of  a  great  master-conjurer  a  long  way  to  the  north,  who, 
having  removed  the  stone  from  the  mouth  of  a  certain  deep 
pit,  lets  loose  these  insects  in  order  to  furnish  them  with 
food.*^  This  is  not  unlike  the  account,  given  by  the  author 
of  the  Apocalypse,  of  the  origin  of  the  symbolical  Locusts, 

1  Riley's  Narrat.,  p.  237. 

2  Exped.  to  Africa,  p.  107. 

3  Cent.  Africa,  ii.  30. 

*  Pinker  ton'  a  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  xvi.  034. 
s  Travels  to  C.  of  Good  Hupe,  i.  203. 
«  Ibid. 


which  are  said  to  ascend  upon  an  angel's  opening  the  pit  of 
the  abyss. ^ 

The  Korannas  and  Bushmen  of  the  Cape  save  the  Locusts 
in  large  quantities,  and  grind  them  between  two  stones  into 
a  kind  of  a  meal,  which  they  mix  with  fat  and  grease,  and 
bake  in  cakes.  Upon  this  fare,  says  Mr.  Fleming,  they  live 
for  months  together,  and  chatter  with  the  greatest  joy  as 
soon  as  the  Locusts  are  seen  approaching.^ 

Locusts  in  Madagascar  are  greatly  esteemed  by  the  na- 
tives as  food.^ 

The  account  of  the  missionary  Moffat  differs  somewhat 
from  and  is  much  more  complete  than  Mr.  Fleming's  and 
Dr.  Sparrman's.  He  says  the  natives  of  S.  Africa  embrace 
every  opportunity  of  gathering  Locusts,  which  can  be  done 
during  the  night.  Whenever  the  cloud  alights  at  a  place 
not  very  distant  from  a  town,  the  inhabitants  turn  out  with 
sacks,  and  often  with  pack-oxen,  gather  loads,  and  return 
next  day  with  millions.  The  Locusts  are  then  prepared  for 
eating  by  simple  boiling,  or  rather  steaming,  as  they  are  put 
into  a  large  pot  with  a  little  water,  and  covered  closely  up; 
after  boiling  for  a  short  time,  they  are  taken  out  and  spread 
on  mats  in  the  sun  to  dry,  when  they  are  winnowed,  some- 
thing like  corn,  to  clear  them  of  their  legs  and  wings;  and, 
when  perfectly  dry,  are  put  into  sacks,  or  laid  upon  the 
house  floor  in  a  heap.  The  natives  eat  them  whole,  adding 
a  little  salt  when  they  can  obtain  it,  or  pound  them  in  a 
wooden  mortar;  and,  when  they  have  reduced  them  to 
something  like  meal,  they  mix  them  with  a  little  water  and 
make  a  cold  stir-about. 

When  Locusts  abound,  the  natives  become  quite  fat,  and 
would  even  reward  any  old  lady  who  would  say  that  she 
had  coaxed  them  to  alight  within  reach  of  the  inhabitants. 

Mr.  Moffat  thinks  the  Locust  not  bad  food,  and,  when 
well  fed,  almost  as  good  as  shrimps.'' 

The  plan  of  gathering  Locusts  by  night  is  occasionally 
attended  with  danger.  "  It  has  happened  that  in  gathering 
them  people  have  been  bitten  by  venomous  reptiles.  On 
one  occasion  a  woman  had  been  traveling  for  several  miles 


1  Revel,  ix.  2,  3. 

2  Fleming's  Kaffraria,  p.  80. 

3  Holman's  Travels,  p.  487. 
*  Miss.  Lab.,  p.  448-9. 



with  a  large  bundle  of  Locusts  on  her  head,  when  a  serpent, 
which  had  been  put  into  the  sack  with  them,  found  its  way 
out.  The  woman,  supposing  it  to  be  a  thong  dangling  about 
her  shoulders,  laid  hold  of  it  with  her  hand,  and,  feeling  that 
it  was  alive,  instantly  precipitated  the  bundle  to  the  ground 
and  fled.  "1 

Pringle,  in  his  song  of  the  wild  Bushman,  has  the  follow- 
ing lines  : 

Yea,  even  the  wasting  Locust-swarm, 

Which  mighty  nations  dread, 
To  me  nor  terror  brings  nor  harm  ; 
I  make  of  them  my  bread. 2 

Flights  of  Locusts  are  considered  so  much  of  a  blessing  in 
South  Africa,  that,  as  Dr.  Livingstone  states,  the  rain- 
doctors  sometimes  promised  to  bring  them  by  their  incanta- 

Carsten  Niebuhr  says  that  all  Arabians,  whether  living  in 
!  their  own  country  or  in  Persia,  Syria,  and  Africa,  are  ac- 
'  customed  to  eat  Locusts.  They  distinguish  several  species 
of  insect,  to  which  they  give  particular  names.  The  red 
Locust,  which  is  esteemed  fatter  and  more  succulent  than 
any  other,  and  accordingly  the  greatest  delicacy,  they  call 
3luken;  another  is  called  Dubbe,  but  they  abstain  from  it 
because  it  has  a  tendency  to  produce  diarrhoea.  A  light- 
colored  Locust,  as  well  as  the  Muken,  is  eaten. 

In  Arabia,  Locusts,  when  caught,  are  put  in  bags,  or  on 
strings,  to  be  dried;  in  Barbary,  they  are  boiled,  and  then 
dried  upon  the  roofs  of  the  houses.  The  Bedouins  of 
Egypt  roast  them  alive,  and  devour  them  with  the  utmost 
voracity.  Niebuhr  says  he  saw  no  instance  of  unwhole- 
someness  in  this  article  of  food ;  but  Mr.  Forskal  was  told 
it  had  a  tendency  to  thicken  the  blood  and  bring  on  melan- 
choly habits.  The  former  gentleman  also  says  the  Jews  in 
Arabia  are  convinced  that  the  fowls,  of  which  tlie  Israelites 
ate  so  largely  of  in  the  desert,  were  only  clouds  of  Locusts, 
and  laugh  at  our  translators,  who  have  supposed  that  they 
found  quails  where  quails  never  were.* 

The  wild  Locusts  upon  which  St.  John  fed  have  given  rise 

^  Quot.  in  Anderson's  L.  Ngami,  p.  284. 

2  Ibid.,  p.  283. 

3  Trav.  and  Res.  in  S.  Africa,  p.  48. 

*  Pinkerton's  Col.  ofVoy.  and  Trav.-,  x.  189. 



to  great  discussion — some  authors  asserting  them  to  be  the 
fruit  of  the  carob-tree,  while  others  maintain  they  were  the 
true  Locusts,  and  refer  to  the  practice  of  the  Arabs  in  ^'yria 
at  the  present  day.  "  They  who  deny  insects  to  have  been 
the  food  of  this  holy  man,"  says  Hasselquist,  "urge  that 
this  insect  is  an  unaccustomary  and  unnatural  food;  but 
tlrey  would  soon  be  convinced  of  the  contrary,  if  they  would 
travel  hither,  to  Egypt,  Arabia,  or  Syria,  and  take  a  meal 
with  .the  Arabs.  Roasted  Locusts  are  at  this  time  eaten  by 
the  Arabs,  at  the  proper  season,  when  they  can  procure 
them ;  so  that  in  all  probability  this  dish  has  been  used  in 
the  time  of  St.  John.  Ancient  customs  are  not  here  sub- 
ject to  many  changes,  and  the  victuals  of  St.  John  are  not 
believed  uimatural  here  ;  and  I  was  assured  by  a  judicious 
Greek  priest  that  their  church  had  never  taken  the  word  in 
any  other  sense,  and  he  even  laughed  at  the  idea  of  its  be- 
ing a  bird  or  a  plant. "^ 

Mr.  Forbes  incidentally  remarks  that  in  Persia  and  Ara- 
bia, roasted  Locusts  are  sold  in  the  markets,  and  eaten  with 
rice  and  dates,  and  sometimes  flavored  with  salt  and  spices.^ 

The  Acridites  lincola  {Gryllus  Egyptians  of  Linna3us) 
is  the  species  commonly  sold  for  food  in  the  markets  of 

In  fact,  Locusts  have  been  eaten  in  Arabia  from  the  re- 
motest antiquity.  This  is  evinced  by  the  sculptured  slabs 
found  by  Layard  at  Kouyunjic;  for,  among  other  attend- 
ants carrying  fruit,  flowers,  and  game,  to  a  banquet,  are  seen 
several  bearing  dried  Locusts  fastened  on  rods.  And  being 
thus  introduced  in  this  bas-relief  among  the  choicest  deli- 
cacies, it  is  most  probable  they  were  also  highly  prized  by 
the  Assyrians.  Layard  has  figured  one  of  these  Locust 
bearers,  who  upon  the  sculptured  slab  is  about  four  and  a 
half  feet  in  height.^ 

The  Chinese  regard  the  Locust,  when  deprived  of  the 
abdomen,  and  properly  cooked,  as  passable  eating,  but  do 
not  appear  to  hold  the  dish  in  much  estimation.'' 

Mr.  Laurence  Oliphant,  in  Tientsin,  China,  saw  bushels 
of  fried  Locusts  hawked  about  in  baskets  by  urchins  in  the 

1  Hasselq.  Trav.,  p.  419. 

2  Orient.  Mem.,  i.  46. 

3  Layard's  Nin.  and  Bab.,  p.  289. 
*  Chinese  Reposilory. 


streets.  Locust-hunting,  be  asserts,  was  a  favorite  and 
profitable  occupation  among  the  juvenile  part  of  the  com- 
munity. He  thought  the  taste  not  unlike  that  of  peri- 

Williams  says:  "The  insect  food  (of  the  Chinese)  is  con- 
jBned  to  Locusts  and  Grasshoppers,  Ground-grubs  and  Silk- 
worms ;  the  latter  are  fried  to  a  crisp  when  cooked.'" 

Dampier  says  in  the  Bashee  (Philippine)  Islands,  Locusts 
are  eaten  as  a  regular  food.  The  natives  catch  them  in 
small  nets,  when  they  come  to  devour  their  potato- vines, 
and  parch  them  over  the  fire  in  an  earthen  pan.  When  thus 
prepared  the  legs  and  wings  fall  off,  and  the  heads  and  backs, 
which  before  were  brownish,  turn  red  like  boiled  shrimps. 
Dampier  once  ate  of  this  dish,  and  says  he  liked  it  well 
enough.  When  their  bodies  were  full  they  were  moist  to 
the  palate,  but  their  heads  cracked  in  his  teeth.^ 

Ovalle  states  that  in  the  pampas  of  Chili,  bread  is  made 
of  Locusts  and  of  Mosquitos.* 

According  to  Mr.  Jules  Remy,  our  Western  Indians  eat 
in  great  quantities  what  are  generally  there  called  Ct^ickets, 
the  Q^dipoda  corallipes} 

In  the  southern  parts  of  France,  M.  Latrielle  informs  us, 
the  children  are  very  fond  of  the  fleshy  thighs  of  Locusts.'' 

The  Arabs  believe  the  Locusts  have  a  government  among 
themselves  similar  to  that  of  the  bees  and  ants ;  and  when 
"  Sultan  Jeraad,"  King  of  the  Locusts,  rises,  the  whole  mass 
follow  him,  and  not  a  solitary  straggler  is  left  behind  to 
witness  the  devastation.  Mr.  Jackson  himself  evidently 
believed  this  from  the  manner  he  has  narrated  it.'^  An  Arab 
once  asserted  to  this  gentleman,  that  he  himself  had  seen 
the  great  "Sultan  Jeraad,"  and  described  his  lordship  as 
being  larger  and  more  beautifully  colored  than  the  ordinary 

Capt.  Riley  also  mentions  that  each  flight  of  Locusts  is 
said  to  have  a  king  which  directs  its  movements  with  great 

1  Lord  Elgin's  Miss,  to  China  and  Japan,  p.  273. 
'^  Middle  Kingdom,  ii.  50. 

3  Vol/.,  i.  430.     Pinkerton's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  xi.  49. 

4  Ibid.,  xiv.  128.  5  Vol.  ii.  p.  525. 
^  Cuvier,  An.  King. — Ins.,  ii.  205. 

7  Jackson's  Morocco,  p.  103.  ^  md,^  p.  106. 

^  Narrative,  p.  235. 


The  Chinese  believe  the  same,  and  affirm  that  this  leader 
is  the  largest  individual  of  the  whole  swarm. ^ 

Benjamin  Bullifant,  in  his  observations  on  the  Natural 
History  of  New  England,  says:  "The  Locusts  have  a  kind 
of  regimental  discipline,  and  as  it  were  commanders,  which 
show  greater  and  more  splendid  wings  than  the  common 
ones,  and  arise  first  when  pursued  by  fowls,  or  the  feet  of  a 
traveler,  as  I  have  often  seriously  remarked."" 

The  truth,  however,  is  found  in  the  Bible.  They  have  no 

The  Saharawans,  or  Arabs  of  the  desert,  "whose  hands 
are  against  every  man,"^  and  who  rejoice  in  the  evil  that 
befalls  other  nations,  when  they  behold  the  clouds  of  Locusts 
proceeding  toward  the  north  are  filled  with  the  greatest 
gladness,  anticipating  a  general  mortality,  which  they  call 
El-khere,  the  good,  or  the  benediction ;  for,  when  Barbary 
is  thus  laid  waste,  they  emerge  from  their  arid  recesses  in 
the  desert  and  pitch  their  tents  in  the  desolated  plains.^ 

Pausanias  tells  us,  that  in  the  temple  of  Parthenon  there 
was  a  brazen  statue  of  Apollo,  by  the  hand  of  Phidias,  which 
was  called  Parnopius,  out  of  gratitude  for  that  god  having 
once  banished  from  that  country  the  Locusts,  which  greatly 
injured  the  land.  The  same  author  asserts  that  he  himself 
has  known  the  Locusts  to  have  been  thrice  destroyed  by 
Apollo  in  the  Mountain  Lipylus,  once  exterminating  them 
by  a  violent  wind;  at  another  time  by  vehement  heat;  and 
the  third  time  by  unexpected  cold.^ 

At  a  time  when  there  were  great  swarms  of  Locusts  in 
China,  as  we  learn  from  Navarette,  the  Emperor  went  out 
into  his  gardens,  and  taking  up  some  of  these  insects  in  his 
hands,  thus  spoke  to  them  :  The  people  maintain  themselves 
on  wheat,  rice,  etc.,  you  come  to  devour  and  destroy  it, 
without  leaving  anything  behind ;  it  were  better  you  should 
devour  my  bowels  than  the  food  of  my  subjects.  Having 
concluded  his  speech,  the  monarch  was  about  to  put  them  in 
a  fair  way  of  "devouring  his  bo\vels"  by  swallowing  them, 
when  some  that  stood  by  telling  him  they  were  venomous, 

1  Chinese  Repository. 
'^  Phil.  Trans,  for  \  698. 
3  Frov.  XXX.  27. 
^  Genes,  xvi.  12. 

5  .Jackson's  Travels  in  Morocco,  p.  105-6. 

6  Hist,  of  Greece,  b.  i.  c.  24. 


he  nobly  answered,  "I  value  not  ray  life  when  it  is  for  tlie 
good  of  my  subjects  and  people  to  lose  it,"  and  immediately 
swallowed  the  insects.  History  tells  us  the  Locusts  that 
very  moment  took  wing,  and  went  off  without  doing  any 
more  damage;  but  whether  or  not  the  heroic  Emperor 
recovered  leaves  us  in  ignorance.^ 

Mr.  J.  M.  Jones  gives  the  following  ludicrous  account  of 
the  capture  of  a  Locust  in  the  Bermudas.  While  walking 
one  hot  day  in  the  vicinity  of  the  barracks  at  St.  George's, 
with  his  lamented  friend,  the  late  Col.  Oakly  (56th  Regt.), 
on  the  lookout  for  insects,  a  very  fine  specimen  of  the 
Locust  sprung  up  before  them.  The  former  chased  it  for  a 
while  unavailingly,  but  determined  not  to  be  balked  of  his 
prey;  the  colonel  then  joined  in  the  pursuit,  and  after  a 
sharp  and  hot  chase,  bagged  his  game  right  before  a  sentry- 
box  ;  the  sentry,  as  in  duty  bound,  standing  with  arms  pre- 
sented, in  the  presence  of  a  field  officer,  who  was,  however, 
in  a  rather  undignified  position  to  receive  the  salute.  They 
had  gained  their  prize,  however,  and  had  a  hearty  laugh,  in 
which  we  fancy  the  sentry  could  scarcely  help  joining.^ 

Capt.  Drayson,  in  his  South  African  Sporting,  tells  the 
following  anecdote :  A  South  African,  riding  through  a 
flock  of  Locusts,  was  struck  in  the  eye  by  one  of  them,  and, 
though  blinded  momentarily  in  the  injured  eye,  he  still  kept 
the  other  on  the  insect,  which  sought  to  escape  by  diving 
among  the  crowd  on  the  ground.  So,  dismounting,  he  cap- 
tured it,  passed  a  large  pin  through  its  body,  and  thrust  it 
in  his  waistcoat  pocket;  and  whenever  the  damaged  eye 
smarted,  he  pulled  it  out  again,  and  stuck  the  pin  through 
it  in  a  fresh  place. ^ 

Darwin  tells  us  that  when  the  "Beagle"  was  to  windward 
of  the  Cape  de  Verd  Islands,  and  when  the  nearest  point  of 
land,  not  directly  opposed  to  the  trade-wind,  was  Cape 
Blanco  on  the  coast  of  Africa,  370  miles  distant,  a  large 
Grasshopper — Acri/dium — flew  on  board  !*  But  Sir  Hans 
Sloane  mentions  a  much  more  remarkable  flight  in  his  His- 
tory of  Jamaica ;  for  when  the  Assistance  frigate  was  about 

1  Hist.   Acct.  of  China,   b.  ii.  c.   15,  and  Church  Col.  of   Voy.  and 
Trav.,  i.  95. 

'^Naturalist  in  Bermuda,  p.  112. 
3  S.  African  Sport.,  p.  220. 
*  Darwin's  Res.,  p.  159. 



300  leaf^ues  to  windward  of  Barbados,  he  says  a  Locust 
alig'lited  on  the  forecastle  among  the  sailors  !^ 

Several  species  of  Locusts  are  beautifully  marked  ;  these 
were  sought  after  by  young  Jewish  children  as  playthings.^ 

The  eggs  of  the  Chargol  Locust,  Truxalis  iiasuta?,  the 
Jewish  women  used  to  carry  in  their  ears  to  preserve  them 
from  the  earache.^ 

The  word  Locust,  Latin  Locusta,  is  derived  by  the  old 
etymologists  from  locus,  a  place,  and  ustiis,  burned, — 
"quod  tactu  multa  urit  morsu  vero  omnia  erodat."  True 
Locusts  are  the  Acridiiim,  or  Criquefs,  of  Geoffroy,  and 
the  Gryllus  of  Fabricius.  The  Migratory-locust,  Locusta 
migratoria,  a  rather  small  insect,  is  the  most  celebrated 
species  of  the  family.  To  it  almost  all  the  devastations 
before  mentioned  have  been  attributed.  It  is  most  probable, 
however,  many  species  have  been  confounded  under  the  same 

In  Spain,  as  we  are  told  by  Osbeck,  the  people  of  fashion 
keep  a  species  of  Locust — called  there  Gryllo — in  cages — 
grillaria, — for  the  sake  of  its  song.*  De  Pauw  says  that, 
like  Canary  birds,  they  were  kept  in  cages  to  sing  during 
the  celebration  of  mass.^ 

The  song  of  a  Spanish  Gryllo  on  one  occasion,  if  we  may 
credit  the  historian,  was  the  means  of  saving  a  vessel  from 
shipwreck.  The  incident  evinces  the  perilous  situation  of 
Caiieza  de  Vara,  in  his  voyage  toward  Brazil,  and  is  related 
by  Dr.  Southcy  in  his  history  of  that  country  as  follows  : 

"AVhen  they  had  crossed  the  Line,  the  state  of  the  water 
was  inquired  into,  and  it  was  found,  that  of  a  hundred  casks 
there  remained  but  three,  to  supply  four  hundred  men  and 
thirty  horses.  Upon  this,  the  Adelantado  gave  orders  to 
make  for  the  nearest  land.  Three  days  they  stood  toward 
it.  A  soldier,  who  had  set  out  in  ill  health,  had  brought  a 
Gryllo,  or  ground  cricket,  with  him  from  Cadiz,  thinking  to 
be  amused  by  the  insect's  voice ;  but  it  had  been  silent  the 
whole  way,  to  his  no  little  disappointment.  Now,  on  the 
fourth  morning,  the  Gryllo  began  to  sing  its  shrill  rattle, 
scenting,  as  it  was  immediately  supposed,  the  land.     Such 

1  Hist,  of  Jam.,  ii.  201. 

2  Smith's  Bib.  Diet.  3  md, 
^  Travels,  i.  71. 

5  Egypt  a/ui  China,  ii.  106. 


was  the  miserable  watch  which  had  been  kept,  that  upon 
looking  out  at  the  warning,  they  perceived  high  rocks  within 
bowshot;  against  which,  had  it  not  been  for  the  insect,  they 
must  inevitably  have  been  lost.  They  had  just  time  to  drop 
anchor.  From  hence  they  coasted  along,  the  Gryllo  sing- 
ing every  night,  as  if  it  had  been  on  shore,  till  they  reached 
the  Island  of  St.  Catalina."^ 

To  account  for  the  singular  sound  produced  by  the  Platy- 
phyllon  concavum,  which  much  resembles  the  expression 
Katy  did,  so  much  so  that  the  insect  is  now  called  the  Katy- 
did,— a  curious  legend  is  told  in  this  country,  and  particu- 
larly in  Virginia  and  Maryland.  Mrs.  A.  L.  Ruyter  Dufour 
has  kindly  embodied  it  in  the  following  verses  for  me  : 

Two  maiden  sisters  loved  a  gallant  youth, 

Once  in  the  far-otf  days  of  olden  time  : 
With  all  of  woman's  fervency  and  truth  ; — 

So  runs  a  very  ancient  rustic  rhyme. 

Blanche,  chaste  and  beauteous  as  a  Fairy-queen, 
Brave  Oscar's  heart  a  willing  captive  led  ; 

Lovely  in  soul  as  was  her  form  and  mien, 

While  guileless  love  its  light  around  her  shed. 

A  .Juno  was  the  proud  and  regal  Kate, — 

Her  love  thus  scorn'd,  her  beauty  thus  defied, 

Like  Juno's  turn'd  her  love  to  vengeful  hate  :—' 
Mysteriously  the  gallant  Oscar  died. 

Bereft  of  reason,  faithful  Blanche  soon  lay  ; — 
The  mystery  of  this  fearful  fate  none  knew, 

Save  proud,  revengeful  Kate,  who  would  not  say 
It  wa"?  her  hand  had  dared  the  deed  to  do. 

Justice  and  pity  then  to  Jove  appealed. 

That  the  dark  secret  be  no  longer  hid  ; 
Young  Oscar's  spirit  he  at  once  concealed, 

That  cries,  each  summer  night,  Kate,  Katy-did! 

Hose  Hill,  B.C.,  June  24,  1861. 

If  a  Katy-did  enters  your  house,  an  unlooked-for  visitor 
will  speedily  come.  If  it  sings  there,  some  of  your  family 
will  be  noted  for  fine  musical  powers.  These  superstitions 
obtain  in  Maryland. 

1  Hist,  of  Brazil,  i.  105. 



Termitidae — White-ants. 

The  Termites  or  Wliite-ants  (which  are  ants  only  by  a 
misnomer)  are  found  in  both  the  Indies,  in  Africa,  and  in 
South  America,  where  they  do  vast  damage,  in  consequence 
of  tlieir  eating  and  perforating  wooden  buildings,  utensils, 
furniture,  and  indeed  all  kinds  of  household  stuff,  which  are 
utterly  destroyed  by  them  if  not  timely  prevented.  They 
are  found  also  in  Europe,  and,  about  thirty  years  ago,  from 
the  extent  of  their  ravages  in  the  West  of  France,  and  par- 
ticularly at  Rochelle,  caused  considerable  alarm.  ^ 

There  is  a  story  commonly  told,  if  not  commonly  credited 
throughout  India,  of  the  Termites  demolishing  a  chest  of 
dollars  at  Bencoolen,  which  is  in  a  great  degree  cleared  up 
by  the  following  anecdote  introduced  by  Mr.  Forbes  in  his 
Memoirs  :  A  gentleman  having  charge  of  a  chest  of  money, 
unfortunately  placed  it  on  the  floor  in  a  damp  situation  ; 
and,  as  a  matter  of  course  in  that  climate,  the  box  was 
speedily  attacked  by  the  Termites,  which  hac^  their  burrow 
just  under  the  place  the  treasure  stood.  Soon  annihila- 
ting the  bottom,  these  devouring  insects  were  not  any  more 
ceremonious  in  respect  to  the  bags  containing  the  specie ; 
which,  being  thus  let  loose,  fell  piece  by  piece  gradually  into 
the  hollows  in  the  Termites'  burrow.  When  the  cash  was 
demanded,  and  not  to  be  found,  all  were  greatly  amazed  at 
the  wonderful  powers,  both  of  teeth  and  stomachs,  of  the 
little  marauders,  which  were  supposed  to  have  consumed 
the  silver  and  gold  as  well  as  the  wood.  But,  after  some 
years,  however,  the  house  requiring  repair,  the  whole  sum 
was  found  several  feet  deep  in  the  earth  ;  and,  thanks,  the 

1  Baird's  Ci/clop.  of  Hat.  Sci.  The  species  here  referred  to  was 
the  Termes  lucifuga. 


Termites  were  rescued  from  that  obloquy  which  the  sup- 
posed power  of  feasting  on  precious  metals  had  cast  on  their 
whole  race.^ 

Kempfer,  during  his  stay  at  a  Dutch  fort  on  the  coast  of 
Malabar,  one  morning  discovered  some  peculiar  marks  like 
arches  upon  his  table,  about  the  size  of  his  little  finger. 
Suspecting  they  were  the  work  of  Termites,  he  made  an  ac- 
curate examination,  and,  much  to  his  surprise,  found  not 
only  what  he  expected  to  be  true,  but  that  these  voracious 
insects  had  pierced  a  passage  of  that  thickness  up  one  leg 
of  the  table,  then  across  the  table,  and  so  down  again 
through  the  middle  of  another  leg  into  the  floor  !  What 
made  it  the  more  wonderful  was  that  it  had  all  been  done  in 
the  few  hours  that  intervened  between  his  retiring  to  rest 
and  his  rising.^ 

Mr.  Forbes,  on  surveying  a  room  which  had  been  locked 
up  during  an  absence  of  a  few  weeks,  observed  a  number  of 
advanced  works  in  various  directions  toward  some  prints 
and  drawings  in  English  frames ;  the  glasses  appeared  to 
be  uncommonly  dull,  and  the  frames  covered  with  dust. 
''On  attempting,"  says  he,  "to  wipe  it  off,  I  was  astonished 
to  find  the  glasses  fixed  on  the  wall,  not  suspended  in  frames 
as  I  left  them,  but  completely  surrounded  by  an  incrustation 
cemented  by  the  White-ants,  who  had  actually  eaten  up  the 
deal  frames  and*  back-boards,  and  the  greater  part  of  the 
paper,  and  left  the  glasses  upheld  by  the  incrustation,  or  cov- 
ered way,  which  they  had  formed  during  their  depredation."^ 

It  is  even  asserted,  says  Kirby  and  Spence,  that  the  su- 
perb residence  of  the  Governor-general  at  Calcutta,  which 
cost  the  East  India  Company  such  immense  sums,  is  now 
going  rapidly  to  decay  in  consequence  of  the  attacks  of 
these  insects.  But  not  content  with  the  dominions  they  have 
acquired,  and  the  cities  they  have  laid  low  on  Terra  Firma, 
encouraged  by  success,  the  White-ants  have  also  aimed  at 
the  sovereignty  of  the  ocean,  and  once  had  the  hardihood 
to  attack  even  a  British  ship  of  the  line — the  Albion  ;  and, 
in  spite  of  the  efforts  of  her  commander  and  his  valiant  crew, 
having  boarded  they  got  possession  of  her,  and  handled  her 

1  Orient.  Mem.,  i.  3G3-4. 

2  Kempf.  Japan,  ii.  127;    also  Pinkerton's  Col.  of  Voy.  arid  Trav., 
vii    701. 

3  Orient.  Mem.,  i.  362. 


SO  roughly,  that  when  brought  into  port,  being  no  longer 
fit  for  service,  she  was  obliged  to  be  broken  up.^ 

Lutfullah,  in  his  Autobiography,  relates  the  following : 
"  I  returned  the  couch  kindly  sent  to  me  by  a  friend,  with 
my  thanks,  and  made  my  bed  on  the  ground,  placing  my 
new  desk  of  Morocco  leather  at  the  head  to  serve  as  a  pil- 
low, and  went  to  bed.  In  the  morning,  when  roused  by  the 
bugle,  I  found  my  bed  strewed  with  damp  dust,  my  skin  ex- 
coriated in  some  parts,  and  my  back  irritated  in  others.  I 
called  my  servant,  who  was  saddling  ray  horse.  'Mahdilli,' 
said  I  angrily,  'you  have  been  throwing  dust  all  over  my 
bed  and  self,  in  shaking  the  trappings  of  the  horse  near  my 
bed  in  the  tent.' — '  No,  sir,  I  have  done  no  such  thing,'  was 
his  reply.  When  I  took  up  my  cloak  it  fell  to  pieces  in  my 
hand  ;  the  blanket  was  in  the  same  state,  and  the  bottom  of 
my  desk,  with  some  valuable  papers,  were  destroyed.  '  What 
misfortune  is  this  ?'  cried  I  to  Mahdilli,  who  immediately 
brought  a  burning  stick  to  examine  the  cause,  and  coolly 
observed,  *  It  is  the  White-ants,  sir,  and  no  misfortune,  but 
a  piece  of  bad  luck,  sir.'  Poor  man  !  in  all  mishaps,  I 
always  found  him  attaching  blame  to  destiny,  and  never  to 
his  own  or  my  imprudence."- 

The  Caffres,  as  we  are  informed  by  Mr.  Latrobe,  when 
first  permitted  to  settle  at  Guadenthal,  before  they  could 
build  ovens,  according  to  the  custom  of  their'country,  availed 
themselves  of  the  Ant-hills  found  in  that  neighborhood;  for, 
having  destroyed  the  inhabitants  by  fire  and  smoke,  they 
scooped  them  out  hollow,  leaving  a  crust  of  a  few  inches  in 
thickness,  and  used  them  for  baking,  putting  in  three  loaves 
at  a  time.'^ 

Mr.  Southey  says  that  in  Brazil  the  Spaniards  hollow  out 
the  nests  of  the  Termites,  and  use  them  for  ovens.*  The 
authority  of  Messrs.  Kidder  and  Fletcher  is,  that  in  Brazil, 
"the  Termites'  dwelling  is  sometimes  overturned  by  the 
slaves,  the  hollow  scooped  wider,  and  is  then  used  as  a  bake- 
oveu  to  parch  Indian-corn."^ 

Mr.  Latrobe  also  tells  us  that  the  clay  of  which  these 

1  Introd.,  i.  247. 

2  Autohiog.,  Lond.,  1858,  p.  222-3. 

3  Lntr.  S.  Africa,  p.  315. 

4  ///.v<.  of  Brazil,  i.  319. 

5  Kid.  and  Flctch.,  Brazil,  p.  443. 



Ant-bills  are  formed,  is  so  well  prepared  by  the  industrious 
Termites,  Termes  beUicosus,  that  it  is  used  for  the  floors 
of  rooms  in  South  Africa  both  by  the  Hottentots  and 

Mr.  Southey  states  that  in  Brazil  "the  Spaniards  pul- 
verize the  nests  of  the  Termites,  and  with  the  powder  form 
a  flooring  for  their  houses,  which  becomes  as  hard  as  stone, 
and  on  which  it  is  said  no  fleas  or  other  insects  will  harbor."^ 
The  early  Spanish  settlers  built  the  walls  of  their  houses  of 
the  same  earth  ;  and  some  of  which,  which  were  erected  in 
the  seventeenth  century,  are  said  to  be  still  in  existence.^ 

Ant-hills,  or  rather  the  Termites  which  inhabit  them, 
have  also  been  used  as  an  instrument  of  perhaps  the  most 
infernal  torture  the  ingenuity  of  man  has  ever  invented. 
For,  in  South  Africa,  at  one  time,  the  wretched  victim, 
whether  prisoner  of  war  or  offending  subject,  having  been 
smeared  with  some  oily  substance,  was  partially  interred  in 
one  of  these  heaps,  and,  if  not  first  roasted  to  death  by  the 
burning  sun,  was  literally  devoured  alive  by  the  myriads  of 
insects  which  have  their  habitation  there.  It  has  been  as- 
serted, that  even  some  Euglishmen  have  met  this  dreadful 

At  Unyamwezi,  in  the  lake  regions  of  Central  Africa, 
the  natives  chew  the  clay  of  Ant-hills  as  a  substitute  when 
their  tobacco  fails.  They  call  this  clay  "sweet  earth."  It 
is  said  the  Arabs  have  also  tried  it  without  other  effects 
than  nausea.^ 

The  goldsmiths  of  Ceylon  employ  the  powdered  clay  of 
Ant-hills  in  preference  to  all  other  substances  in  the  prepa- 
ration of  crucibles  and  moulds  for  their  fine  castings,  for  so 
delicate  is  the  trituration  to  which  the  Termites  subject  this 
material;*^  and  Knox  says,  "the  people  use  this  finer  clay 
to  make  their  earthen  gods  of,  it  is  so  pure  and  fine.'" 

Termites,  as  an  article  of  food,  are  eaten  by  the  inhabit- 
ants of  many  countries.  Mr.  Koenig,  in  his  essay  on  the 
history  of  these  insects,  read  before  the  Society  of  Natural- 

1  S.  Africa,  p.  315. 

^  Hist,  of  Brazil,  i.  319. 

3  Kidder  and  Fletcher,  Brazil,  p.  442. 

^  Barter's  Dorp  and  Veld,  p.  81. 

5  Burton's  Central  Africa,  i.  202. 

6  Tennent,  Nat.  Hist,  of  Ceylon,  p.  412. 
^  Knox,  Ceylon,  Ft.  I.  cli.  vi.  p.  24. 


ists  of  Berlin,  tells  us,  that  to  catch  the  Termites  before 
their  emigration,  the  natives  of  the  East  Indies  make  two 
holes  in  the  nest,  one  to  windward,  and  the  other  to  leeward  ; 
at  the  latter  aperture,  they  place  a  pot,  rubbed  with  aromatic 
herbs.  On  the  windward  side  they  make  a  fire,  the  smoke 
of  which  drives  these  insects  into  the  pots.  By  this  method 
they  take  a  great  quantity,  of  which  they  make,  with  flour, 
a  variety  of  pastry,  which  they  sell  to  the  poorer  i)eople. 
This  author  adds,  that  in  the  season  in  which  this  aliment 
is  abundant,  the  abuse  of  it  produces  an  epidemic  colic  and 
dysentery,  which  carries  off  the  patient  in  two  or  three 
hours. ^ 

The  Africans,  says  Mr.  Smeatham,  are  less  ingenious  in 
catching  and  preparing  them.  They  content  themselves  in 
collecting  those  which  fall  into  the  water  at  the  time  of 
emigration.  They  skim  them  ofl*  the  surface  with  calabashes, 
filling  large  caldrons  with  them,  then  grill  them  in  iron 
pots,  over  a  gentle  fire,  stirring  them  as  coffee  is  stirred. 
They  thus  eat  them  by  handfuls,  without  sauce,  or  any  other 
preparation,  and  find  them  delicious.  This  gentleman  has 
several  times  eaten  them  cooked  in  this  manner,  and  thinks 
them  delicate,  nourishing,  and  wholesome,  being  sweeter  than 
the  grub  of  the  palm-tree  weevil  (Calandra  palmarum), 
and  resembling  in  taste  sugared  cream  or  sweet  almond 
paste. ^ 

The  Hottentots,  Dr.  Sparrman  informs  us,  eat  them 
greedily  boiled  and  raw,  and  soon  grow  fat  and  plump  upon 
this  food.^ 

An  idea  may  be  formed  of  this  dish  by  what  once  occurred 
to  Dr.  Livingstone  on  the  banks  of  the  Zouga,  in  South 
Africa.  The  Bayeiye  chief  Palani  visiting  this  traveler  while 
eating,  he  gave  him  a  piece  of  bread  and  preserved  apricots  ; 
and  as  the  chief  seemed  to  relish  it  much,  he  asked  him  if 
he  had  any  food  equal  to  that  in  his  country.  "Ah  !"  said 
the  chief,  ''did  you  ever  taste  White-ants?"  As  the  doctor 
never  had,  he  replied,  "Well,  if  you  had,  you  never  could 
have  desired  to  eat  anything  better."^ 

In  the  lake  regions  of  Central  Africa,  says  Burton,  man 

1  Phil.  Trans.,  Ixxi.  167-8,  note.  2  jbid. 

3  Voy.  to  Cape  of  Good  Hope,  i.  261 ;    Cf.  Alexander's  Exped.  into 
Africa,  i.  52. 

*  Trav.  in  S.  Africa,  p.  501. 


revenges  himself  upon  the  White-ant,  and  satisfies  his 
craving  for  animal  food,  which  in  those  regions  oftentimes 
becomes  a  principle  of  action, — a  passion, — by  boiling  the 
largest  and  fattest  species,  and  eating  them  as  a  relish  with 
his  insipid  porridge.^ 

Buchanan  says  the  Termes,  or  White-ant,  is  a  common 
article  of  food  among  one  of  the  Hindoo  tribes  ;  Mr.  Forbes 
says,  of  the  low  castes  in  Mysore,  and  the  Carnatic.^  Cap- 
tain Green  relates  that,  in  the  ceded  districts  of  India,  the 
natives  place  the  branches  of  trees  over  the  nests,  and  then 
by  means  of  smoke  drive  out  the  insects  ;  which  attempting 
to  fly,  their  wings  are  broken  off  by  the  mere  touch  of  the 

The  female  Termite,  in  particular,  is  supposed  by  the 
Hindoos  to  be  endowed  with  highly  nutritive  properties, 
and,  we  are  told  by  Mr,  Broughton,  was  carefully  sought 
after  and  preserved  for  the  use  of  the  debilitated  Surjee 
Rao,  Prime-minister  of  Scindia,  chief  of  the  Mahrattas.* 

The  Hottentots  not  only  eat  the  Termites  in  their  perfect 
state,  but  also,  when  their  corn  is  consumed  and  they  are 
reduced  to  the  necessity,  in  their  pupa.  These  pupae,  which 
they  call  "rice,"  on  account  of  their  resemblance  to  that 
grain,  they  usually  wash,  and  cook  with  a  small  quantity  of 
water.  Prepared  in  this  way  they  are  said  to  be  palatable ; 
and  if  the  people  find  a  place  where  they  can  obtain  them 
in  abundance,  they  soon  become  fat  upon  them,  even  when 
previously  much  reduced  by  hunger.  A  large  nest  will 
sometimes  yield  a  bushel  of  pupce.^ 

Termite  queens  in  the  East  Indies  are  given  alive  to  old 
men  for  strengthening  the  back.*^ 

1  Burton's  Cent.  Africa,  i.  202. 

2  Buchanan,  i.  7;   Forbes,  Orient.  Mem.,  i.  305. 

3  Kirb.  and  Sp.  Introd.,  i.  308,  note. 

*  Letters  loritten  in  a  Mahratta  Camp  in  1809. 

5  Backhouse,  p.  584. 

6  Fhil.  Trans.,  Ixxi.  167-8,  note. 



Ephemeridae — Day-flies. 

The  name  of  Ephemeridae  has  been  given  to  the  insects, 
so  called,  in  consequence  of  the  short  duration  of  their  lives, 
when  they  have  acquired  their  final  form.  There  are  some 
of  them  which  never  see  the  sun ;  thej  are  born  after  it  is  Sfft, 
and  die  before  it  reappears  on  the  horizon. 

These  insects,  indifferently  called  also  Day-flies  and  May- 
flies, usually  make  their  appearance  in  the  districts  watered 
by  the  Seine  and  the  Marne,  in  the  month  of  August;  and 
in  such  countless  myriads,  that  the  fishermen  of  these  rivers 
believe  they  are  showered  down  from  heaven,  and  accordingly 
call  the  living  cloud  of  them  manna — manna  for  fish,  not 
men.  Reaumur  once  saw  them  descend  in  this  region  so 
fast,  that  the  step  on  which  he  stood  by  the  river's  bank  was 
covered  by  a  layer  four  inches  thick  in  a  few  minutes.  He 
compares  their  falling  to  that  of  snow  with  the  largest 

Scopoli  assures  us  that  such  swarms  are  produced  every 
season  in  the  neighborhood  of  some  particular  spots  in  the 
Duchy  of  Carniola,  that  the  countrymen  think  they  obtain 
but  a  small  portion,  unless  every  farmer  can  carry  off  about 
twenty  cartloads  of  them  into  his  fields  for  the  purpose  of  a 

Libellulidae — Dragon-flies. 

On  account  of  the  long  and  slender  body,  peculiar  to  the 
insects  of  this  family,  they  are  with  us  sometimes  called 
DeviVs  Darning-needles,  but  more  commonly  Dragon-flies. 
In  Scotland  they  are  known  by  the  name  of  Flying  Adders^ 
for  the  same  reason.  The  English,  from  an  erroneous  belief 
that  they  sting  horses,  call  them  Horse-stingers.  In  France, 
from  their  light  and  airy  motions,  and  brilliant,  variegated 
dress,  they  are  called  Demoiselles;  and  in  Germany,  for  the 
same  reason,  and  that  they  hover  over,  and  lived  during 

1  Memoirs,  vi.  485.  Quot.  by  K.  and  S.  Tntrod.,  i.  284.  Cuv.  An. 
Kingd. — Im.,  ii.  315.     Ins.  Trans.,  p.  373. 

2  Quot.  by  Shaw,  ZooL,  vi.  250. 


their  first  stages  in,  water,  Wasser-jungfern — Virgins  of  the 
Water.  Another  German  name  for  them  is  Florfliegen — 
Gauze-flies,  in  allasion  to  their  net-like  wings.  Oar  boys 
also  call  them  Snake-feeders  and  Snake-doctors,  in  the  be- 
lief that  they  wait  upon  snakes  in  the  capacity  of  feeders 
and  doctors;  and  so  firm  are  they  in  this  belief,  that  fre- 
quently I  have  been  laughed  at  for  asserting  the  contrary 
to  them.  The  belief  probably  arose  from  the  manner  in 
which  the  Dragon-fly  sometimes  falls  a  prey  to  the  snakes. 
Hovering  over  ponds,  they  are  fond  of  alighting  on  little 
sticks  and  twigs  just  out  of  the  water,  and  mistaking  the 
heads  of  snakes,  which  probably  swam  there  for  the  purpose, 
for  such  twigs,  they  are  instantly  caught  by  the  snakes. 

On  the  30th  and  31st  of  May,  1839,  immense  cloud-like 
swarms  of  Dragon-flies  passed  in  rapid  succession  over  the 
German  town  of  Weimar  and  its  neighborhood.  They  were 
the  Libellula  depressa,  a  species  which,  in  general,  is  rather 
scarce  in  that  part  of  Germany.  The  general  direction  of 
this  migration  was  from  south  by  west  to  north  by  east. 
The  insects  were  in  a  vigorous  state,  and  some  of  the  flocks 
flew  as  high  as  150  feet  above  the  level  of  the  River  Ilm. 

At  Gottingen  on  June  the  1st,  at  Eisenach  on  May  the  30th 
and  31st  of  the  same  year,  swarms  of  the  same  species  were 
seen  flying  from  east  to  west;  and  at  Calais,  June  14th, 
similar  clouds,  though  of  a  different  species,  were  noticed 
on  their  way  toward  the  Netherlands.  At  Halle,  also,  on 
May  30th,  a  short  time  before  a  thunder-storm,  swarms  of 
the  Dragon-fly,  L.  quadrimaculata,  were  seen  by  Dr.  Buhle, 
flying  very  rapidly  from  south  to  north.  The  L.  quadri- 
maculata is  not  generally  found  in  the  neighborhood  of 

This  wonderful  migration,  for  it  is  a  phenomenon  of  rare 
occurrence,  extended  from  the  51st  to  the  52d  degree  of 
latitude,  and  was  observed  within  27°  40'  and  30°  east  of 
Ferro.  But  the  instance  of  Calais  renders  it  probable  that 
it  extended  over  a  great  part  of  Europe. 

Another  migration  of  Dragon-flies  was  observed  at 
Weimar  on  the  28th  of  June,  1816.  The  insects,  in  this 
instance,  belonged  also  to  the  L.  depressa.  They  were 
taken  then,  as  were  they  also  in  1839,  for  locusts  by  the 
common  people,  and  looked  upon  as  the  harbingers  of  fam- 
ine and  war. 

In  these  migrations  they  followed  the  direction  of  the 


rivers,  with  the  currents.  They  did  not,  however,  always 
keep  close  by  them,  since  they  must  spread  over  wide  dis- 
tricts in  order  to  subsist. 

To  account  for  the  great  multiplication  of  these  insects,  in 
the  year  1839,  is  by  no  means  difficult.  From  the  beginning 
to  the  21st  of  May  (in  the  latter  part  of  which  month,  it  will 
be  remembered,  they  appeared),  the  weather  had  been  ex- 
ceedingly rainy ;  rivers  and  lakes  overflowed  their  banks 
and  inundated  immense  areas  of  low  grounds,  whereby 
myriads  of  the  larvae  and  jyupse  (which  live  entirely  in 
water)  of  the  Lihtdlulse,  which,  under  other  circumstances, 
would  have  remained  in  deep  water,  and  become  the  prey  of 
their  many  enemies,  fish,  etc.,  were  brought  into  shallow 
water,  and  hot  weather  following,  from  May  21st  to  May 
29th,  converted  these  shallows  and  swamps  into  true  hot- 
beds for  them.  Their  development  into  perfect  insects  was 
thus  rendered  rapid,  so  that,  somewhat  earlier  than  usual, 
they  appeared,  and  in  far  greater,  their  undiminished,  num- 
bers ;  and,  being  very  voracious  in  their  appetite,  as  well  in 
the  imago  as  the  pupa  state,  they  were  obliged  to  migrate 
immediately  to  satisfy  it.^ 

Mr.  Gosse  observed  in  Jamaica,  Oct.  8th,  1845,  a  swarm 
of  Dragon- flies  in  the  air,  about  twenty  feet  from  the  level 
of  the  ground.  They  floated  and  danced  about,  over  the 
stream  of  water  that  runs  through  Blue-fields,  much  in  the 
manner  of  gnats,  which  they  resembled  also  in  their  immense 
numbers.^  And  Rev.  T.  J.  Bowen,  on  one  occasion,  in  de- 
scending the  Ogun  Biver  (in  the  Yoruba  country,  Africa), 
met  millions  of  Dragon-flies,  about  one-fourth  of  an  inch  in 
length,  making  their  way  up  the  country  by  following  the 
course  of  the  stream.^ 

It  is  commonly  said  among  us,  that  if  a  Dragon-fly  be 
killed,  there  will  soon  be  a  death  in  the  family  of  the  killer. 

1  Mag.  of  Nat.  Hist.,  iii.  51G-8. 
'^  Gosse's  Jamaica,  p.  251. 

3  Gram,   and  Diet,  of  the  Yoruba  Language      Smitlison.   Public, 
p.  xiii. 


Myrmeleonidae — Ant-lions. 

When  children  meet  with  the  funnel-shaped  pitfalls  of  the 
larva  of  the  Ant-lion,  Myrmeleon  formicales,  they  are  wont 
to  put  their  heads  close  to  the  ground  and  softly  sing  ooloo- 
ooloo-ooloo,  till  the  larva,  mistaking  the  sound  for  that  of  a 
fly  escaping  his  trap,  throws  up  a  shower  of  sand  to  bring 
its  supposed  victim  down  again. 

Ant-lions  are  held  in  great  esteem  in  many  sections  of  our 
country,  so  much  so  that  they  are  not  suffered  to  be  in  any 
way  injured. 


ORDER    V. 


Uroceridae — Sirex. 

In  a  work  called  ''Ephemerides  des  curieux  de  la  Jia- 
ture,^^  is  an  observatioQ  afiparently  relative  to  this  family  of 
insects,  which,  if  true,  would  be  very  extraordinary  indeed. 
It  is  there  said,  that  in  the  town  of  Czierck  and  its  environs, 
there  were  seen  in  1679  some  unknown  winged  insects  which, 
with  their  stings,  mortally  wounded  both  men  and  beasts. 
They  fell  abruptly  upon  men  without  provocation,  and  at- 
tached themselves  to  the  naked  parts  of  the  body  :  the  sting 
was  immediately  followed  by  a  hard  tumor,  and  if  care  was 
not  taken  of  the  wound  within  the  first  three  hours,  by  hastily 
extracting  the  poison  from  it,  the  patient  died  in  a  few  days 
after.  These  insects  killed  five  and  thirty  men  in  this  dio- 
cese, and  a  great  number  of  oxen  and  horses.  Toward  the 
end  of  September,  the  winds  brought  some  of  them  into  a 
small  town  on  the  confines  of  Silesia  and  Poland ;  but  they 
were  so  feeble  on  account  of  the  cold,  that  they  did  but  little 
mischief  there.  Eight  days  afier,  they  all  disappeared. 
These  animals  have  all  of  them  four  wings,  six  feet,  and 
carry  under  the  belly  a  long  sting  provided  with  a  sheath, 
which  opens  and  separates  in  two.  They  make  a  very  sharp 
noise  in  attacking  men.  Some  of  them  are  ornamented  with 
yellow  circles  (Sirex  gigas,  or  S.  fusicornis'^  M.  Latreille), 
and  others  are  similar  to  them  in  all  respects,  but  they  have 
the  back  altogether  black,  and  their  stings  are  more  venomous 
{S.  spectrum  or  juvencus?).  The  author  of  these  observa- 
tions gives  an  extended  description  of  the  species  with  the 
yellow  circles,  which  he  accompanies  with  figures,  in  which 
the  character  of  Sirex  may  be  clearly  distinguished.^ 

1  Cuv.  An.  King. — Ins.,  ii.  404. 



Cynipidse — Gall-flies. 

In  the  spring  of  1694,  some  Galls  hung  down  like  chains 
upon  the  oaks  in  Germany,  and  the  common  people,  who 
had  never  observed  them  before,  imagined  them  to  be  mag- 
ical knots. ^ 

A  very  old  and  common  superstition  is,  that  every  oak- 
apple  contains  either  a  maggot,  a  fly,  or  a  spider:  the  first 
foretelling  famine,  the  second  war,  and  the  third,  the  spider, 
pestilence.  Matthiolus  gravely  affirms  this  conceit  to  be 
true  ;^  and  the  learned  Sir  Thomas  Browne,  in  his  Pseudo- 
doxia  Epidemica,  has  thought  it  worth  his  while,  with  much 
gravity,  to  explode  it.  He,  however,  while  combating  one 
popular  error,  falls  himself  into  another,  for  want  of  that 
philosophical  knowledge  of  insects  which  later  times  have 
succeeded  in  obtaining.  We  pass  this  by,  and  hurry  to  his 
conclusion  :  "We  confess  the  opinion  may  hold  some  verity 
in  analogy,  or  emblematical  phancy;  for  pestilence  is  pro- 
perly signified  by  the  spider,  whereof  some  kinds  are  of  a 
very  venomous  nature  :  famine  by  maggots,  which  destroy 
the  fruits  of  the  earth ;  and  war  not  improperly  by  the  fly,  if 
we  rest  in  the  phancy  of  Homer,  who  compares  the  valiant 
Grecian  unto  a  fly.  Some  verity  it  may  also  have  in  itself,  as 
truly  declaring  the  corruptive  constitution  in  the  present 
sap  and  nutrimental  juice  of  the  tree ;  and  may  conse- 
quently discover  the  disposition  of  the  year  according  to 
the  plenty  or  kinds  of  those  productions;  for  if  the  putrefy- 
ing juices  of  bodies  bring  forth  plenty  of  flies  and  maggots, 
they  give  forth  testimony  of  common  corruption,  and  declare 
that  the  elements  are  full  of  the  seeds  of  putrefaction,  as  the 
great  number  of  caterpillars,  gnats,  and  ordinary  insects  do 
also  declare.  If  they  run  into  spiders,  they  give  signs  of 
higher  putrefaction,  as  plenty  of  vipers  and  scorpions  are 
confessed  to  do ;  the  putrefying  materials  producing  ani- 
mals of  higher  mischief  according  to  the  advance  and  higher 
strain  of  corruption."^ 

1  They  were  produced  by  that  species  of  Gall-fly,  Cynips,  de- 
lineated by  Reaumur  in  his  Hist,  of  Ins.,  vol.  iii.  tabl.  4U.  The 
Mirror,  xxx.  234. 

2  K.  and  S.  Introd.,  i.  33. 

3  Browne's  Works,  ii.  376. 


Moufet  says :  "  In  oak  acorns  and  spongy  apples  some- 
times worms  breed,  and  astrologers  presage  that  year  to  be 

likely  to  produce  a  great  famine  and  dearth It  is 

strange  that  Ringelbergius  writes,  lib.  de  experiment,  that 
these  worms  may  be  fed  to  be  as  big  as  a  serpent,  with 
sheep's  milk ;  yet  Cardanus  confirms  the  same,  and  shewes  the 
way  to  feed  them.  Lib.  de  rer.  varietat.^^^ 

There  is  a  very  curious  operation  performed  at  the  pres- 
ent day  in  the  Levant  with  one  of  these  Gall-flies,  which  is 
termed  caprification.  The  object  of  it  is  to  hasten  the  ma- 
turity of  figs ;  and  the  species  employed  for  that  purpose  is 
the  Gynips  ficui<  caricsc,  or  Cxjnips  pjsenes  of  Linnaeus  ;  it 
consists  in  placing  on  a  fig-tree,  which  does  not  produce 
flowers  or  early  figs,  some  of  these  last  strung  together  with 
a  thread.  The  insects  which  issue  from  them,  full  of  fecun- 
dating dust,  introduce  themselves  through  the  eye  into  the 
interior  of  the  second  figs,  fecundate  by  this  means  all  the 
grains,  and  provoke  the  ripening  of  the  fruit. 

This  operation,  of  which  some  authors  have  spoken  with 
admiration,  appeared  to  Hasselquist  and  Olivier,  both  com- 
petent observers,  who  have  been  on  the  spot,  to  be  of  no 
advantage  whatsoever  in  fertilizing  the  fig;-  and  scientific 
men  of  the  present  day  generally  hold  that  it  cannot  be  of 
any  utility,  for  each  fig  contains  some  small  flowers  toward 
the  eye,  capable  of  fecundating  all  the  female  flowers  in  the 
interior,  and  moreover  this  fruit  will  grow,  ripen,  and  be- 
come excellent  to  eat  even  when  the  grains  are  not  fecun- 

A  curious  kind  of  gall,  produced  on  the  rose-trees  by  the 
Cynips  rosse,  which  is  known  by  the  name  of  Bedeguar, 
has  been  placed  among  the  remedies  which  may  be  success- 
fully employed  against  diarrhoea  and  dysentery,  and  useful 
in  cases  of  scurvy,  stone,  and  worms.* 

Tlie  galls  of  commerce,  commonly  called  Nut-galls,  are 
found  on  the  Querciis  infectoria,  a  species  of  oak  growing 
in  the  Levant,  and  are  produced  by  the  Cynips  GaJlse 
tinctoriim.  When  gathered  before  the  insects  quit  them, 
the  nut-galls  contain  more  astringent  matter,  and  are  then 
known  as  Black,  Blue,  or  Green-galls.     When  the  insects 

1  Theatr.  Ins..  252.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  108-'). 
^  Hasselquist.'s  Travels,  p.  253. 
^  Ciiv.  -4??.  King. — ///.«.,  ii    424. 
*  Ibid.,  p.  427. 


have  escaped,  they  are  less  astringent,  and  are  called  White- 
galls.  They  are  of  great  importance  in  the  arts,  being  very 
extensively  used  in  dyeing  and  in  the  manufacture  of  ink 
and  leather.  They  are  the  most  powerful  of  all  the  vegeta- 
ble astringents,  and  are  sometimes  used,  both  internally  and 
externally,  with  great  effect  in  medicine.  Those  imported 
from  Syria  are  the  most  esteemed,  and,  of  these,  those 
found  in  the  neighborhood  of  Moussoul  are  considered  the 

The  gall  of  the  field  cirsium  formerly  enjoyed  a  very 
great  reputation,  for  it  was  considered,  when  carried  simply 
in  the  pockety  as  a  sovereign  remedy  against  hemorrhages. 
It,  no  doubt,  owed  this  virtue  to  its  resemblance  to  the  prin- 
cipal sign  of  this  disease,  the  swelling  of  the  vein.^ 

The  galls  of  the  ground-ivy,  produced  by  the  Cynips 
glecome,  have  been  eaten  as  food  in  France;  they  have  an 
agreeable  taste,  and  to  a  high  degree  the  odor  of  the  plant 
which  bears  them.  Reaumur,  however,  is  doubtful  whether 
they  will  ever  rank  with  good  fruits.^ 

The  galls  of  the  sage  (Salvia  pomifera,  S.  triloba,  and 
S.  officinalis),  which  are  very  juicy,  like  apples,  and  crowned 
with  rudiments  of  leaves  resembling  the  calyx  of  that  fruit, 
are  gathered  every  year,  as  an  article  of  food,  by  the  in- 
habitants of  the  Island  of  Crete.  This  is  the  statement 
of  Poumefort.  Olivier  confirms  it,  and  adds  :  They  are 
esteemed  in  the  Levant  for  their  aromatic  and  acid  flavor, 
especially  when  prepared  with  honey  and  sugar,  and  form  a 
considerable  article  of  commerce  from  Scio  to  Constanti- 
nople, where  they  are  regularly  exposed  in  the  market.* 

The  celebrated  "Dead  Sea  Fruits,"  often  called  Poma 
insana,  or  Mad-apples,  Mala  Sodomitica,  etc.,  which  have 
given  rise  to  great  controversy  among  Oriental  scholars  and 
Biblical  commentators,  are  produced  by  the  Gynip)s  in- 
sana on  the  low  oaks  (Quercus  infectoria)  growing  on 
the  borders  of  the  Dead  Sea.^ 

1  Baird's  Cyclop,  of  Nat.  Sci.  Cf.  Cnv.—Ins.,  ii.  428;  K.  and  S. 
Introd.,  i.  318.  Medict.  Virt.  Cf.  Geoft'roy's  Treatise  on  Subs,  used  in 
Physic,  p.  369. 

2  Cuv.  An.  Kingd. — Ins.,  ii.  428.  Cf.  GeoflFrov's  Subs,  used  in  Phys., 
p.  369. 

3  Reaura.  iii.  416.  Cf.  Cuv.  Ibid.  ji.  429.  K.  and  S.  Introd.,  i.  31 0. 
^  Smith's  Introd.  to  Bot.,  p.  346.  Olivier's  Trav.,  i.  139.  Cf.  Ibid. 
5  Baird's  Cyclop,  of  Nat.  Sci. 

146  roRMiciD.5: — ants. 

Formicidse — Ants. 

Herodotus,  who  wrote  in  the  fifth  century  before  the  birth 
of  Christ,  tells  the  following  fabulous  story  without  the 
slightest  trace  of  diffidence  or  disbelief:  There  are  other 
Indians  bordering  on  the  City  of  Caspatyrus  and  the  country 
of  Pactyica,  settled  northward  of  the  other  Indians,  whose 
mode  of  life  resembles  that  of  the  Bactrians.  They  are  the 
most  warlike  of  the  Indians,  and  these  are  they  who  are 
sent  to  procure  the  gold  ;  for  near  this  part  is  a  desert  by 
reason  of  the  sand.  In  this  desert  then,  and  in  the  sand, 
there  are  Ants  in  size  somewhat  less  indeed  than  dogs,  but 
larger  than  foxes.  Some  of  them  are  in  the  possession  of 
the  King  of  the  Persians,  which  were  taken  there.  These 
Ants,  forming  their  habitations  under  ground,  heap  up  the 
sand  as  the  Ants  in  Greece  do,  and  in  the  same  manner ;  and 
they  are  very  like  them  in  shape.  The  sand  that  is  heaped 
up  is  mixed  with  gold.  The  Indians,  therefore,  go  to  the 
desert  to  get  this  sand,  each  man  having  three  camels,  on 
either  side  a  male  one  harnessed  to  draw  by  the  side,  and  a 
female  in  the  middle  ;  this  last  the  man  mounts  himself,  hav- 
ing taken  care  to  yoke  one  that  has  been  separated  from  her 
young  as  recently  as  possible;  for  camels  are  not  inferior  to 
horses  in  swiftness,  and  are  much  better  able  to  carry  bur- 
dens  The  Indians  then,  adopting  such  a  plan  and 

such  a  method  of  harnessing,  set  out  for  the  gold,  having 
before  calculated  the  time,  so  as  to  be  engaged  in  their  plun- 
der during  the  hottest  part  of  the  day,  for  during  the  heat 

the  Ants   hide  themselves  under  ground When  the 

Indians  arrive  at  the  spot,  having  sacks  with  them,  they 
fill  these  with  the  sand,  and  return  with  all  possible  expedi- 
tion ;  for  the  Ants,  as  the  Persians  say,  immediately  discov- 
ering them  by  the  smell,  pursue  them,  and  they  are  equaled 
in  swiftness  by  no  other  animal,  so  that  if  the  Indians  did 
not  get  the  start  of  them  while  the  Ants  were  assembling, 
not  a  man  of  them  could  be  saved.  Now  the  male  camels 
(for  they  are  inferior  in  speed  to  the  females)  slacken  their 
pace,  dragging  on,  not  both  equally ;  but  the  females,  mind- 
ful of  the  young  they  have  left,  do  not  slacken  their  paoe. 
Thus  the  Indians,  as  the  Persians  say,  obtain  the  greatest 
part  of  their  gold.^  • 

1  Herod.,  B.  3,  102-5.     Gary's  Trajis.,  p.  214. 



Concerning  these  remarkable  Ants,  Strabo  and  Arrian 
have  preserved  the  statement  of  Megasthenes,  who  traveled 
in  India  about  two  centuries  later  than  the  time  of  Herodo- 
tus. As  given  bj  Strabo,  who  is  somewhat  more  particular 
in  his  story  than  Arrian,  it  is  as  follows  :  Megasthenes, 
speaking  of  the  Myrmeces  (or  Ants),  says,  among  the  Derdae, 
a  populous  nation  of  the  Indians,  living  toward  the  East 
and  among  the  mountains,  there  was  a  mountain  plain  of 
about  3000  stadia  in  circumference;  that  below  this  plain 
were  mines  containing  gold,  which  the  Myrmeces,  in  size 
not  less  than  foxes,  dig  up.  They  are  excessively  fleet,  and 
subsist  on  what  they  catch.  In  winter  they  dig  holes  and 
pile  up  the  earth  in  heaps,  like  moles,  at  the  mouths  of  the 
openings.  The  gold  dust  which  they  obtain  requires  little 
preparation  by  fire.  The  neighboring  people  go  after  it  by 
stealth  with  beasts  of  burden  ;  for  if  it  is  done  openly,  the 
Myrmeces  fight  furiously,  pursuing  those  that  run  away,  and, 
if  they  seize  them,  kill  them  and  the  beasts.  In  order  to 
prevent  discovery,  they  place  in  various  parts  pieces  of  the 
flesh  of  wild  beasts,  and  when  the  Myrmeces  are  dispersed 
in  various  directions,  they  take  away  the  gold  dust,  and,  not 
being  acquainted  with  the  mode  of  smelting  it,  dispose  of 
it  in  its  rude  state  at  any  price  to  merchants.^ 

Nearchus  says  he  has  himself  seen  several  of  the  skins  of 
these  Ants,  which  were  as  large  as  the  skins  of  leopards. 
They  were  brought  by  the  Macedonian  soldiers  into  Alexan- 
der's camp. 2 

Pliny,  as  a  matter  of  course,  believ.ed  this  marvelous 
story,  and  has  inserted  it  in  brief  in  his  compilation  of  natu- 
ral history.  He  adds,  too,  that  in  his  time  there  were  sus- 
pended in  the  temple  of  Hercules,  at  Erythrse,  this  Ant's 
horns,  which  were  looked  upou  -as  quite  miraculous  for 
their  size.     He  also  informs  us  it  was  of  the  color  of  a  cat.^ 

Strabo  and  Arrian,  from  the  manner  in  which  they  refer 
to  the  statements  of  Megasthenes  and  Nearchus,  no  doubt 
disbelieved  them;*  not  so,  however,  Pomponius  Mela.^ 

1  Strabo,  Geoq.,  B.  xv.  c.  1,  I  44.     Hamilton's  Trans.,  iii.  101.    Cf. 
Arrian's  Ind.Hist.,  c.  15,     Rooke's  Trans.,  ii.  211. 

2  Ibid. 

3  Pliny,  Nat.  Hist.,  B.  xi.  c.  31.     Bost.  and  Riley's  Trans.,  iii.  39. 
*  Ubi  supra,  and  Strabo,  B.  xv.  c.  1,  ^  37. 

5  Pomp.,  Vita  Apollon.  Tyan.,  B.  vi.  c.  1. 


M.  de  Yeltheim  thinks  this  animal,  which,  as  Pliny  says, 
"  has  the  color  of  a  cat,  and  is  in  size  as  large  as  an  Egyp- 
tian wolf,"  is  nothing  more  than,  and  really  is,  the  Canis 
corsac,  the  small  fox  of  India,  and  that  by  some  mistake  it 
was  represented  by  travelers  as  an  ant.  It  is  not  improba- 
ble, Cuvier  says,  that  some  qnadruped,  in  making  holes 
in  the  ground,  may  have  occasionally  thrown  up  some 
grains  of  the  precious  metal.  Another  interpretation  of 
this  story  has  also  been  suggested.  We  find  some  remarks 
of  Mr.  Wilson,  in  the  Transactions  of  the  Asiatic  Society, 
on  the  Mahabharata,  a  Sanscrit  poem,  that  various  tribes 
on  the  mountains  Meru  and  Mandara  (supposed  to  lie  be- 
tween Hiudostan  and  Thibet)  used  to  sell  grains  of  gold, 
which  they  called  paippilaka,  or  Ant-gold,  which,  they  said, 
was  thrown  up  by  Ants,  in  Sanscrit  called  j^ippHo.ka.  In 
traveling  westward,  this  story  (in  itself,  no  doubt,  untrue) 
may  very  probably  have  been  magnified  to  its  present  di- 

The  laborious  life  and  foresight  of  the  Ant  have  been 
celebrated  throughout  all  antiquity,  and  from  the  wise  Solo- 
mon down  to  the  amiable  La  Fontaine,  the  sluggard  has 
been  referred  to  this  insect  to  "learn  her  ways  and  be  wise.'-^ 
The  Arabians  held  the  wisdom  of  these  animals  in  such  es- 
timation, that  they  used  to  place  one  of  them  in  the  hands  of 
a  newly-born  infant,  repeating  these  words:  "May  the  boy 
turn  out  clever  and  skillful.'"  But  their  wisdom  is  magnified 
by  all,  and  in  the  panegyrics  of  their  providence  we  always 
find  the  following  curious  notion.  Plutarch,  in  his  Land  and 
Water  Creatures  Compared,  thus  mentions  it:  "But  that 
which  surpasseth  all  other  prudence,  policy,  and  wit,  is  their 
(the  Ants')  caution  and  prevention  which  they  use,  that  their 
wheat  and  other  corn  may  not  spurt  and  grow.  For  this 
is  certain,  that  dry  it  cannot  continue  alwayes,  nor  sound  and 
uncorrupt,  but  in  time  will  wax  soft,  resolve  into  a  milky 
juice,  when  it  turneth  and  beginneth  to  swell  and  chit; 
for  fear,  therefore,  that  it  become  not  a  generative  seed,  and 
so  by  growing,  loose  the  nature  and  property  of  food  for 
their  nourishment,  they  gnaw  that  end  thereof  or  head 
wher-e  it  is  wont  to  spurt  and  bud  forth.''''*' 

1  Bostick  and  Riley's  Trans,  of  Pliny,  iii.  39,  note. 

2  Prov.  vi.  6.  Cf.  Prov.  xxx.  23. 

3  Smith's  Bib.  Diet. 

*  Holland's  Trans.,  p.  787. 


The  ancients,  observing  the  Ants  carry  their  pupae,  which 
in  shape,  size,  and  color  very  much  resemble  a  grain  of 
corn,  and  the  ends  of  which  they  sometimes  pull  open  to  let 
out  the  inclosed  insect,  no  doubt  mistook  the  one  for  the 
other,  and  this  action  for  depriving  the  grain  of  the  embryo 
of  the  plant. 

Some  modern  writers,  as  Addison^  and  Pluche,^  it  is  curi- 
ous to  observe,  have  fallen  into  this  ancient  error  ;  so  an- 
cient, in  fact,  it  is  that  some  have  supposed  the  Hebrew  name 
of  the  Ant  to  be  derived  from  it.^  Among  the  poets.  Prior 
asks : 

Tell  me,  why  the  A7it 

In  summer'' s  plenty  thinks  of  winter's  want  ? 

By  constant  journey  careful  to  prepare 

Her  stores,  and  bringing  home  the  corny  ear, 

By  what  instruction  does  she  bite  the  grain? 

Lest,  hid  in  earth,  and  taking  root  again, 

It  might  elude  the  foresight  of  her  care.* 

Thus  Watts,  also  : 

They  don't  wear  their  time  out  in  sleeping  or  play  ; 
But  gather  up  corn  in  a  sunshiny  day, 

And/oT-  winter  they  lay  up  their  stores  : 
They  manage  their  work  in  such  regular  forms, 
One  would  think  they  foresaw  all  the  frosts  and  the  storms, 

And  so  brought  their  food  within  doors. ^ 

And  Smart : 

The  sage,  industrious  Ant,  the  wisest  insect, 

And  best  econoinist  of  all  the  field: 

For  when  as  yet  the  favorable  sun 

Gives  to  the  genial  earth  th'  enlivening  ray, 

All  her  subterranean  avenues, 

And  storm-proof  cells,  with  management  most  meet, 
And  unexampled  housewifry,  she  frames; 
Then  to  the  field  she  hies,  and  on  her  back 
Burden  immense  !  brings  home  the  cumbrous  corn : 
Then,  many  a  weary  step,  and  many  a  strain, 
And  many  a  grievous  groan  subdued,  at  length 
Up  the  huge  hill  she  hardly  heaves  it  homo  ; 

1  Guardian,  No.  156-7. 
^  Nat.  DispL,  i.  128. 

3  Namahl  a  Namal  Circumcidit. — Browne's  Pseud.  Epid. —  ^Yorks, 
ii.  531. 

4  *  Poems :  Solomon. 
^  Hymns :   The  Emmet. 



garner f 

Nor  rests  she  here  her  providence,  but  nips 
With  subtle  tooth  the  grain,  lest  from  her  gam 
In  mischievous  fertility,  it  steal. 
And  hack  to  daylight  vegetate  its  way.i 

Milton  also  entertained  this  erroneous  opinion  : 

First  crept 
The  parsijiionious  Emmet,  provident 
Of  future,  in  small  room  large  heart  inclos'd; 
Pattern  of  just  equality  perhaps 
Hereafter,  join'd  in  her  popular  tribes 
Of  commonalty. 2 

And  also  Dr.  Johnson  : 

Turn  on  ih^  pr^ident  Ant  thy  heedless  eyes, 
Observe  her  labors,  sluggard  !   and  be  wise. 
No  stern  command,  no  monitory  voice, 
Prescribes  her  duties  or  directs  her  choice; 
Yet  timely  provident  she  hastes  away. 
To  snatch  the  blessings  of  a  plenteous  day  ; 
When  fruitful  Summer  loads  the  teeming  plain, 
She  crops  the  harvest,  and  she  stores  the  grain.^ 

There  is  an  old  Eastern  proverb,  that  "what  the  Ant  col- 
lects in  a  year  the  monks  eat  up  in  a  night,"  which  seems  to 
be  founded  on  the  supposition  that  the  Ants  provide  them- 
selves with  stores  of  food.  Juvenal,  also,  observes,  in  his 
Sixth  Satire,  that  "after  the  example  of  the  Ant,  some 
have  learned  to  provide  against  cold  and  hunger."* 

"  Since,  therefore,"  says  Moufet,  "  (to  winde  up  all  in  a  few 
words)  they  (the  Ants)  are  so  exemplary  for  their  great  piety, 
prudence,  justice,  valour,  temperance,  modesty,  charity,  friend- 
ship, frugality,  perseverance,  industry  and  art;  it  is  no  won- 
der that  Plato,  in  Phi\3done,  hath  determined,  that  they  who 
without  the  help  of  philosophy  have  lead  a  civill  life  by  cus- 
tom or  from  their  own  diligence,  they  had  their  souls  from 
Ants,  and  when  they  die  they  are  turned  to  Ants  again. 
To  this  may  be  added  the  fable  of  the  Myrmidons,  who  being 
a  people  of  ^gina,  applied  themselves  to  diligent  labour  in 
tilling  the  ground,  continual  digging,  hard  toiling,  and  con- 

1  On  the  Omnis.  of  God. 

2  Par.  Lost,  13.  vii.  1.  484. 

3  Saturday  Mag.,  xix.  190. 

*  Lawson's  Bible  Cyclop.,  ii.  505. 

FORMICTD.^ — ANTS.  151 

stant  sparing,  joyned  with  virtue,  and  they  grew  thereby  so 
rich,  that  they  passed  the  common  condition  and  ingenuity  of 
men,  and  Theogonis  knew  not  how  to  compare  them  better 
than  to  Pismires,  tiiat  they  were  originally  descended  from 
them,  or  were  transformed  into  them,  and  as  Strabo  reports 
they  were  therefore  called  Myrmidons.  The  Greeks  relate 
the  history  otherwise  than  other  men  do ;  namely,  that 
Jupiter  was  changed  into  a  Pismire,  and  so  deflowered 
Eurymedusa,  the  mother  of  the  Graces,  as  if  he  could  no 
otherwise  deceive  the  best  Woman,  then  in  the  shape  of  the 
best  creature.  Hence  ever  after  was  he  called  Pismire  Ju- 
piter, or,  Jupiter,  King  of  Pismires 

"  They  do  better,  in  my  opinion,  who  observe  the  Pismire, 
and  grow  rich  by  following  his  manners  in  labor,  industry, 
rest,  and  study.  We  read  of  Midas  that  he  was  the  richest 
King  of  all  the  West,  and  when  he  was  a  boy,  the  Pismires 
carryed  grains  of  wheat  into  his  mouth  while  he  slept,  and 
so  foreshowed  without  doubt  that  he  should  be  endowed 
with  the  Pismire's  prudence,  and  should  by  his  labour  and 
frugality,  gain  so  much  riches,  that  he  should  be  called  the 
Golden  boy  of  fortune,  and  the  Darling  of  prosperity. 
^Uanus.  And  when  the  Ants  did  devour  and  eat  up  the 
live  serpent  of  Tiberius  Ciesar,  which  he  so  dearly  loved, 
did  they  not  thereby  give  him  sufficient  warning  that  he 
should  take  heed  to  himself  for  fear  of  the  multitude,  by 
whom  he  was  afterwards  cruelly  murthered?   Suetonius. ^''^ 

Of  the  wars  and  battles  of  the  AntvS,  now  so  familiar  from 
the  writings  of  Iluber  and  others,  one  of  the  oldest  records 
is  that  given  by  JEneas  Sylvius,  who  afterward  became  Pope 
Pius  II.,  of  an  engagement  contested  with  obstinacy  by  a 
great  and  a  small  species,  on  the  trunk  of  a  pear-tree. 
"This  action,"  he  states,  "was  fought  in  the  pontificate  of 
Eugenius  the  Fourth,  in  the  presence  of  Nicholas  Pistori- 
ensis,  an  eminent  lawyer,  who  related  the  whole  history  of 
the  battle  with  the  greatest  fidelity."  Another  engagement 
of  the  same  description  is  recorded  by  Olaus  Magnus,  as 
having  happened  previous  to  the  expulsion  of  Christiern 
the  Second,  of  Sweden,  and  the  smallest  species,  having 
been  victorious,  are  said  to  have  buried  the  bodies  of  their 

1  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  245-6.     Topsel's  nisi,  of  Beasts,  p.  1078.     Vide 
Pierius'  Hieroglyph.,  p.  73-6. 


own  soldiers  that  had  been  killed,  while  they  left  those  of 
their  adversaries  a  prey  to  the  birds. ^ 

Alexander  Ross,  in  his  Appendix  to  the  Arcana  Micro- 
cosmi,  p.  219,  tells  us  :  "  That  the  cruel  battels  between  the 
Venetians  and  Insubrians,  and  that  also  between  the  Liegeois 
and  the  Burgundians,  in  which  about  thirty  thousand  men 
were  slain,  were  presignified  by  a  great  combat  between  two 
swarms  of  Emmets  (Ants).'" 

Ants  were  used  in  divination  by  the  Greeks,  and  gener- 
ally foretold  good.^  They  were  also  considered  an  attribute 
of  Ceres.* 

The  following  extract  is  from  an  English  North- Country 
chap-book,  entitled  the  Roy^l  Dream  Book  :  "  To  dream  of 
Ants  or  Bees  denotes  that  you  will  live  in  a  great  town  or 
city,  or  in  a  large  family,  and  that  you  will  be  industrious, 
happy,  well  married,  and  have  a  large  family."^  The  Ant 
and  the  Bee  are  common  figures  to  express  these  predic- 

I  heard  a  mother  once  say  to  her  child,  "  Never  destroy 
Ants,  for  they  are  fairies,  and  will  so  bewitch  our  cows  that 
they  will  give  no  milk."  This  superstition  prevails  in  par- 
ticular about  Washington  and  in  Virginia. 

Mrs.  Meer  Hassan  Ali,  in  an  interesting  article  on  the 
Ants  of  India,  remarks  that  she  has  often  witnessed  the 
Hindoos,  male  and  female,  depositing  small  portions  of 
sugar  near  Ants'  nests  as  acts  of  charity  to  commence  the 
day  with. 

With  the  natives  of  India,  this  lady  also  tells  us,  it  is  a 
common  opinion  that  wherever  the  Red-ants  colonize,  pros- 
perity attends  the  owner  of  that  house. "^ 

We  read  in  Purchas's  Pilgrims,  that  "the  natives  of 
Carabaia  and  Malabar  will  go  out  of  the  path  if  they  light 
on  an  Ant-hill,  lest  they  might  happily  treade  on  some  of 

Other  insects,  as  will  be  noticed  in  the  course  of  this 

1  Mouf.  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  242. 

2  Quot.  in  Brande's  Pop.  Antiq.,  iii.  224. 

3  Harwood's  Grec.  Antiq.,  p    200. 

*  Stosch.  CI.,  ii.  227-8.  Fosbr.  Encyd.  of  Antiq.,  ii.  738. 

5  Quot.  in  Brande's  Pop.  Antiq.,  iii.  134. 

6  The  Mirror,  xxx.  216. 
■^  Pilgrims,  v.  542. 

rORMICID.E — ANTS.  153 

volume,  are  looked  upon  by  these  people  with  the  same 

Moufet  says  :  "  In  Isthmus  the  priests  sacrificed  Pismires 
to  the  sun,  either  because5|,they  thoug:ht  the  sun  the  most 
beautiful,  and  therefore  they  would  offer  unto  him  the  most 
beautiful  creature,  or  the  most  wise,  as  seeing  all  things, 
and  therefore  they  offered  unto  him  the  wisest  creature."^ 

In  the  twenty-seventh  chapter  of  the  Koran,  which  was 
revealed  at  Mecca,4Qnd  entitled  the  Ant,  we  find,  among 
other  strange  things,  an  odd  story  of  the  Ant,  which  has 
therefore  given  name  to  the  chapter.  It  is  as  follows  :  "And 
his  armies  were  gathered  together  unto  Solomon,  consisting 
of  genii,  and  men,  and  birds;  and  they  were  led  in  distant 
bands,  until  they  came  to  the  valley  of  Ants.^  And  an  Ant, 
seeing  the  hosts  approaching,  said,  0  Ants,  enter  ye  into 
your  habitations,  lest  Solomon  and  his  army  tread  you  under 
foot,  and  perceive  it  not.  And  Solomon  smiled,  laughing 
at  her  words,  and  said,  0  Lord,  excite  me  that  I  may  be 
thankful  for  thy  favour,  wherewith  thou  hast  favoured  me, 
and  my  parents ;  and  that  I  may  do  that  which  is  right,  and 
well  pleasing  unto  thee  :  and  introduce  me,  through  thy 
mercy,  into  paradise,  among  my  servants,  the  righteous."^ 

Thevenot  mentions  "  Solomon's  Ant"  among  the  "Beasts 
that  shall  enter  into  Paradise"  in  the  belief  of  the  Turks, 
and  gives  the  following  reason  :  "  Solomon  was  the  greatest 
king  that  ever  was,  for  all  creatures  obey'd  him,  and  brought 
him  presents,  amongst  others,  an  Ant  brought  him  a  Locust, 
which  it  had  dragged  along  by  main  force  :  Solomon,  per- 
ceiving that  the  Ant  had  brought  a  thing  bigger  than  itself, 
accepted  the  present,  and  preferred  it  before  all  other  crea- 

Plutarch,  speaking  of  the  Ant,  says  :  "  Aratus  in  his  prog- 
nostics setteth  this  down  for  a  rain  toward,  when  they  bring 
forth  their  seeds  and  grains  (pupoe),  and  lay  them  abroad  to 
take  the  air : 

1  Theatr.  Ins.,  246.    Topsel's  HiH   of  Beasts,  p.  1079. 

2  The  valley  seems  to 'be  so  called  from  the  great  number  of  Ants 
which  are  found  there.  Some  place  it  in  Syria,  and  others  in 
Tayeb. — Al  Beidawi,  Jallalo^ddln. 

3  The  Koran,  p.  310.    Translated  by  Geo.  Sale. 
*  Trav.  in  the  Levant,  Pt.  I.  p.  41. 


154  rORMICID^ — ANTS. 

'  When  Ants  make  haste  with  all  their  eggs  aload, 
Forth  of  their  holes  to  carry  them  abroad.'  "^ 

In  the  Treasvrie  of  Avncient^and  Moderne  Times,  it  is 
also  asserted  that  "  when  Ants  walk  the  thickest,  and  more 
than  in  vsuall  numbers,  meeting  together  confusedly,  it  is  a 
manifest  signe  of  raine.'" 

It  is  related  of  the  celebrated  Timour,  that  being  once 
forced  to  take  shelter  from  his  enemies  j^n  a  ruined  building, 
he  sat  alone  many  hours ;  and,  desirous  of  diverting  his  mind 
from  his  hopeless  condition,  at  length  fixed  his  observation 
upon  an  Ant  which  was  carrying  a  grain  of  corn  (probably 
a  pupa)  larger  than  itself,  up  a  high  wall.  Numbering  the 
efforts  it  made  to  accomplish  this  object,  he  found  that  the 
grain  fell  sixty-nine  times  to  the  ground ;  but  the  seventieth 
time  it  reached  the  top  of  the  wall.  "  This  sight,"  said 
Timour,  "  gave  me  courage  at  the  moment,  and  I  have  never 
forgotten  the  lesson  it  conveyed."^ 

Plutarch,  in  his  comparison  between  land  and  water  crea- 
tures, narrates  the  following  anecdote :  "  Gleanthus  the 
Philosopher,  although  he  maintaineth  not  that  beasts  have 
any  use  of  reason,  made  report  nevertheless  that  he  was 
present  at  the  sight  of  such  a  spectacle  and  occurrent  as 
this.  There  were  (quoth  he)  a  number  of  Ants  which  went 
toward  another  Ant's  hole,  that  was  not  their  own,  carrying 
with  them  the  corp;e  of  a  dead  Ant ;  out  of  which  hole , 
there  came  certain  other  Ants  to  meet  them  on  the  way  (as 
it  were)  to  pari  with  them,  and  within  a  while  returned  back 
and  went  down  again;  after  this  they  came  forth  a  second, 
yea  a  third  time,  and  retired  accordingly  until  in  the  end 
they  brought  up  from  beneath  (as  it  were  a  ransom  for  the 
dead  body)  a  grub  or  little  worm;  which  the  others  received 
and  took  upon  their  shoulders,  and  after^hey  had  delivered 
in  exchange  the  aforesaid  corpse,  departed  home."* 

Of  the  ingenuity  of  the  Ant  in  removing  obstacles,  the 
following  anecdote  is  a  very  appropriate  illustration  :  A 
gentleman  of  Cambridge  one  day  observed  an  Ant  dragging 
along  what,  with  respect  to  the  creature's  size,  might  be  de- 
nominated a  log  of  wood.    Others  were  severally  employed, 

1  Land  and  Water  Creatures  Compared,  Holland,  p. 

2  B.  7,  c.  16,  p.  665;   printed  1613. 

3  Strong's  Nat.  Hist.,  iii.  163. 
*  Hollamrs  Tranx.,  p.  787. 


each  in  its  own  way.  Presently  the  Ant  in  question  came 
to  an  ascent,  where  the  weight  of  the  wood  seemed  for  a 
while  to  overpower  him :  he  did  not  remain  long  perplexed 
with  it;  for  three  or  four  others,  observing  his  dilemma, 
came  behind  and  pushed  it  up.  As  soon,  however,  as  he 
got  it  on  level  ground,  they  left  it  to  his  care,  and  went  to 
their  own  work.  The  piece  he  was  drawing  happened  to 
be  considerably  thicker  at  one  end  than  the  other.  This 
soon  threw  the  poor  fellow  into  a  fresh  difficulty  ;  he  un- 
luckily dragged  it  between  two  bits  of  wood.  After  several 
fruitless  efforts,  finding  it  would  not  go  through,  he  adopted 
the  only  mode  that  even  a  man  in  similar  circumstances 
would  have  taken :  he  came  behind  it,  pulled  it  back  again, 
and  turned  it  on  its  edge ;  when,  running  again  to  the  other 
end,  it  passed  through  without  the  slightest  difficulty.^ 

Franklin  was  much  inclined  to  believe  Ants  could  com- 
municate their  thoughts  or  desires  to  one  another,  and  con- 
firmed his  opinion  by  several  experiments.  Observing  that 
when  an  Ant  finds  some  sugar,  it  runs  immediately  under 
ground  to  its  hole,  where,  having  stayed  a  little  while,  a 
whole  army  comes  out,  unites  and  marches  to  the  place 
where  the  sugar  is,  and  carry  it  off  by  pieces ;  and  that  if 
an  Ant  meets  with  a  dead  fly,  which  it  cannot  carry  alone, 
it  immediately  hastens  home,  and  soon  after  some  more  come 
out,  creep  to  the  fly,  and  carry  it  away ;  observing  this,  he 
put  a  little  earthen  pot,  containing  some  treacle,  into  a 
closet,  into  which  a  number  of  Ants  collected,  and  devoured 
the  treacle  very  quickly.  He  then  shook  them  out,  and 
tied  the  pot  with  a  thin  string  to  a  nail  which  he  had  fast- 
ened in  the  ceiling,  so  that  it  hung  down  by  the  string.  A 
single  Ant  by  chance  remained  in  the  pot,  and  when  it  had 
gorged  itself  upon  the  treacle,  and  wanted  to  get  off,  it  was 
under  great  concern  to  find  a  way,  and  kept  running  about 
the  bottom  of  the  pot,  but  in  vain.  At  last  it  found,  after 
many  attempts,  the  way  to  the  ceiling,  by  going  along  the 
string.  After  it  was  come  there,  it  ran  to  the  wall,  and 
thence  to  the  ground.  It  had  scarcely  been  away  half  an 
hour,  when  a  great  swarm  of  Ants  came  out,  got  up  to  the 
ceiling,  and  crept  along  the  string  into  the  pot,  and  began 
to  eat  again.     This  they  continued  till  the  treacle  was  all 

1  Cbamb.  Misc.,  x.  17. 


eaten  ;  in  the  mean  time  one  swarm  running  down  the  string, 
and  the  other  up.^ 

It  has  been  suggested,  that  in  such  instances  as  the  pre- 
ceding, the  Ants  may  have  been  led  by  the  scent  or  trace  of 
treacle  likely  to  be  left  by  the  solitary  prisoner  ;  and  the 
following  case,  related  by  Bradley,  is  quoted  to  favor  the 
opinion:  "A  nest  of  Ants  in  a  nobleman's  garden  dis- 
covered a  closet,  many  yards  within  the  house,  in  which 
conserves  were  kept,  which  they  constantly  attended  till  the 
nest  was  destroyed.  Some,  in  their  rambles,  must  have  first 
discovered  this  depot  of  sweets,  and  informed  the  rest  of  it. 
It  is  remarkable  that  they  always  went  to  it  by  the  same 
track,  scarcely  varying  an  inch  from  it,  though  they  had  to 
pass  through  two  apartments ;  nor  could  the  sweeping  and 
cleaning  of  the  rooms  discomfit  them,  or  cause  them  to  pur- 
sue a  different  route  "'^ 

Dionisio  Carli,  of  Piacenza,  a  missionary  in  Congo,  lying 
sick  at  that  place,  was  awakened  one  night  by  his  monkey 
leaping  on  his  head,  and  almost  at  the  same  time  by  his 
Blacks  crying  out,  much  to  his  surprise,  "Out!  Out  I 
Father  !"  Thoroughly  awake  now,  Carli  asked  them  what 
was  the  matter  ?  "  The  Ants,"  they  cried,  ''are  broke  out, 
and  there  is  no  time  to  be  lost  I''  Not  being  able  to  stir, 
he  bid  them  carry  him  into  the  garden,  which  they  did,  four 
of  them  lifting  him  upon  his  straw  bed ;  and  yet  though 
very  quick  about  it,  the  Ants  had  already  commenced  crawl- 
ing up  his  legs.  After  shaking  them  off  their  master,  the 
Blacks  took  straw  and  fired  it  on  the  floor  of  four  rooms, 
where  these  insects  by  this  time  were  over  half  a  foot  thick. 
The  pests  being  thus  destroyed,  Carli  was  conveyed  back  to 
his  chamber,  where  he  found  the  stench  so  great  from  the 
burnt  bodies,  that  he  was  forced,  he  says,  to  hold  his  monkey 
close  to  his  nose  ! 

These  Ants,  Carli  relates,  ate  up  every  living  object  with- 
in their  reach  ;  and  of  one  cow,  which  was  accidentally  left  over 
night  in  the  stable  through  which  they  passed,  nothing  but 
the  bones  were  found  the  next  morning.^  We  need  not 
wonder  at  this,  if  we  believe  what  Bosnian  has  said  of  the 
Black- ants  of  Guinea,  which  were  so  surprisingly  rapacious 

1  Kalm  in  Pinkerton's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  xiii.  474. 

2  Chainb.  Misc.,  x.  22. 

^  Piukertou's  Cul.  of  Vuy.  and  Trav.,  xvi.  174. 


that  no  animal  could  stand  before  them.  He  relates  an  in- 
stance where  they  reduced  for  him  one  of  his  live  sheep  in 
one  night  to  a  perfect  skeleton,  and  that  so  nicely  that  it 
surpassed  the  skill  of  the  best  anatomists.^  Du  Chaillu 
says  the  elephant  and  gorilla  fly  before  the  attack  of  the 
Bashikouay-ants,  and  the  black  men  run  for  their  lives. 
Many  a  time  has  he  himself,  he  says,  been  awakened  out  of 
a  sleep,  and  obliged  to  rush  out  of  his  hut  and  into  the 
water  to  save  his  life  !^  The  Driver-ants^  of  Western  Africa, 
A.  nomma  arcens,  have  been  known  to  kill  the  Python  nata- 
lensis,  the  largest  serpent  of  that  part  of  the  world. "^ 

Col.  St.  Clair,  after  a  visit  by  a  species  of  small  Red-ants, 
makes  mention  of  the  following  instance,  among  others,  of 
their  singular  destructiveness :  "I  next  discovered  that  a 
little  pet  deer,  which  I  had  purchased  from  a  negro,  was 
extremely  ill.  I  could  not  discover  the  cause  of  its  malady, 
until,  placing  it  on  its  legs,  I  observed  that  it  would  not  let 
one  foot  touch  the  ground,  and,  on  examining  it,  I  found,  to 
my  grief,  that  the  Red-ants  had  absolutely  eaten  a  hole  into 
the  bone.  The  poor  little  animal  pined  all  that  day  and 
died  in  the  evening."^ 

Capt.  Stedman  relates  that  the  Fire- ants  of  Surinam 
caused  a  whole  company  of  soldiers  to  start  and  jump  about 
as  if  scalded  with  boiling  water ;  and  its  nests  were  so 
numerous  that  it  was  not  easy  to  avoid  them.*^  And  Knox, 
in  his  account  of  Ceylon,  mentions  a  black  Ant,  called  by 
the  natives  Coddia  or  Kaddiya,^  which,  he  says,  "bites 
desperately,  as  bad  as  if  a  man  were  burnt  by  a  coal  of  fire ; 
but  they  are  of  a  noble  nature,  and  will  not  begin  unless  you 
disturb  them."  The  reason  the  Singhalese  assign  for  the 
horrible  pain  occasioned  by  their  bite  is  curious,  and  is  thus 
related  by  Knox :  "Formerly  these  Ants  went  to  ask  a  wife 
of  the  Noya,  a  venomous  and  noble  kind  of  snake;*  and  be- 

1  Guinea,  p.  276-;  Astley's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  ii.  727. 

2  Du  Chaillu,  p.  312  and  108. 

3  Allied  to  the  Stinger  [ota)  of  Yoruba,  and  Idzalco,  "the  ligliter 
which  makes  one  go." — T,  J.  Bowen. 

*  Livingstone's  Travels,  p.  468. 
6  St.  Clair's  W.  Lidies,  i  167-8. 
6  Stedm.  Surinam,  ii.  94. 

'  Of  similar  size  and  ferocity  as  the  great  Red-ant  of  Ceylon,  the 
Dimiya,  Formica  smaragdina. — Tennent,  N.  H.  of  Ceyl.,  p.  424. 
s  The  Cobra  de  Capello,  Naja  tripudians,  Merr. 

1 58  FORMICID^ — ANTS. 

cause  they  had  such  a  high  spirit  to  dare  to  offer  to  be  re- 
lated to  such  a  generous  creature,  they  had  this  virtue  be- 
stowed upon  them,  that  they  should  sting  after  this  manner. 
And  if  they  had  obtained  a  wife  of  the  Noya,  they  should  have 
had  the  privilege  to  sting  full  as  bad  as  he."^  Capt.  Sted- 
man  has  a  story  of  a  large  Ant  that  stripped  the  trees  of  their 
leaves,  to  feed,  as  was  supposed  by  the  natives  of  Surinam,  a 
blind  serpent  under  ground,^  which  is  somewhat  akin  to  this  : 
as  is  also  another,  related  to  Kirby  and  Spence  by  a  friend, 
of  a  species  of  Mantis,  taken  in  one  of  the  Indian  islands, 
which,  according  to  the  received  opinion  among  the  natives, 
was  the  parent  of  all  their  serpents.^  But,  the  reverse  : 
Among  the  harmless  snakes  of  Mexico  is  a  beautiful  one 
about  a  foot  in  length,  and  of  the  thickness  of  the  little 
finger,  which  appears  to  take  pleasure  in  the  society  of 
Ants,  insomuch  that  it  will  accompany  these  insects  upon 
their  expeditions,  and  return  with  them  to  their  usual  nest. 
From  this  peculiarity  it  is  called  by  the  Spaniards  and 
Mexicans  the  "Mother  of  the  Ants."^ 

When  in  Africa,  Du  Chaillu  was  told  by  the  natives  that 
criminals  in  former  times  were  exposed  to  the  path  of  the 
Bashikouay-ants,  as  the  most  cruel  way  of  putting  them  to 
death. ^  This  dreadful  manner  of  torturing  w^as  at  one  time 
also  practiced  by  the  Singhalese,  and  I  have  heard  that  sev- 
eral I3ritish  soldiers  have  thus  met  their  fate.  The  Termites 
have  been  referred  to  before  as  having  been  employed  for  a 
similar  purpose. 

To  check  the  ravages  of  the  Coffee-bug,  Lecanium  coffea, 
Walker,  which  for  several  years  was  devastating  some  of  the 
plantations  of  Ceylon,  the  experiment  was  made  of  intro- 
ducing the  Red-ants,  Formica  jmaragdina,  Fab.,  which 
feed  greedily  on  the  Coccus.*^     But  the  remedy  threatened 

1  Knox,  Hist.  Rel.  of  Ceylon,  Pt.  I.  ch.  vi.  p.  24. 

2  Stedrn.  Surinam,  ii.  142. 

3  K.  and  S.  Introd.,  i.  123. 

*  Smith's  Nature  and  Art,  xii.  195.  Clavigero  supposes  that  all 
the  attachment  which  the  snake  shows  to  the  Ant-hills  proceeds 
from  its  living  on  the  Ants  themselves. 

6  Du  Chaillu,  p.  312. 

6  The  Swiss  farmers,  in  order  to  rid  their  trees  of  caterpillars, 
allure  the  Ants  to  climb  the  trees,  where,  being  contined  by  a  circle 
of  pitch  round  the  holes,  hunger  soon  causes  them  to  attack  the 
noxious  larvae. 



to  be  attended  with  some  inconvenience,  for,  says  Tennent, 
the  Malabar  coolies,  with  bare  and  oiled  skins,  were  so  fre- 
quently and  fiercely  assaulted  by  the  Ants  as  to  endanger 
their  stay  on  the  estates. 

The  pupge  or  cocoons  of  the  Ants,  during  the  day,  are 
placed  near  the  surface  of  the  Ant-hills  to  obtain  heat,  which 
is  indispensable  to  the  growth  of  the  inclosed  insects.  This 
is  taken  advantage  of  in  Europe  to  collect  the  cocoons  in 
large  quantities  as  food  for  nightingales  and  larks.  The 
cocoons  of  a  species  of  Wood-ant,  Formica  rufa,  are  the 
only  kind  chosen.  In  most  of  the  towns  of  Germany,  one  or 
more  individuals  make  a  living  during  summer  by  this  busi- 
ness alone.  "In  1832,"  says  a  contributor  to  the  Penny 
Encyclopedia,  "we  visited  an  old  woman  at  Dottendorf,  near 
Bern,  who  had  collected  for  fourteen  years.  She  went  to 
the  woods  in  the  morning,  and  collected  in  a  bag  the  sur- 
faces of  a  number  of  Ant-hills  where  the  cocoons  were  de- 
posited, taking  Ants  and  all  home  to  her  cottage,  near  which 
she  had  a  small  tiled  shed  covering  a  circular  area,  hollowed 
out  in  the  center,  with  a  trench  full  of  water  around  it.  After 
covering  the  hollow  in  the  center  with  leafy  boughs  of  wal- 
nut or  hazel,  she  strewed  the  contents  of  her  bag  on  the  level 
part  of  the  area  within  the  trench,  when  the  Nurse-ants  im- 
mediately seized  the  cocoons,  and  carried  them  into  a  hollow 
under  the  boughs.  The  cocoons  were  thus  brought  into  one 
I  place,  and  after  being  from  time  to  time  removed,  and  black 
ones  separated  by  a  boy  who  spread  them  out  on  a  table, 
1  and  swept  off"  what  were  bad  with  a  strong  feather,  they 
i  were  ready  for  market,  being  sold  for  about  id.  or  6d  a 
quart.  Considerable  quantities  of  these  cocoons  are  dried 
for  winter  food  of  birds,  and  are  sold  in  the  shops. "^ 

Ants  not  only  furnish  food  to  man  for  his  birds,  but  also 
food  for  himself,  in  both  the  pupa  and  imago  states.  Nicoli 
Conti,  who  traveled  in  India  in  the  early  part  of  the  fifteenth 
century,  says  the  Siamese  eat  a  species  of  Red-ant,  of  the 
size  of  a  small  crab,  which  they  consider  a  great  delicacy 
seasoned  with  pepper.^  At  the  present  day,  the  pupae  of  a 
species  of  Ants  are  a  costly  luxury  with  these  people.  They 
are  not  much  larger  than  grains  of  sand,  and  are  sent  to 
table  curried,  or  rolled  in  green  leaves,  mingled  with  shreds 

1  Penny  Encycl.,  sub  Ant. 

2  Hakluyt  Society,  ii.  13. 


or  very  fine  slices  of  fat  pork.^  And  in  the  province  of 
Michuacan,  Mexico,  is  a  singular  species  of  Ant,  which 
carries  on  its  abdomen  "a  little  bagful  of  a  sweet  substance, 
of  which  the  children  are  very  fond :  the  Mexicans  suppose 
this  to  be  a  kind  of  honey  collected  by  the  insect;  but 
Clavigero  thinks  it  rather  its  eggs."^ 

Piso,  De  Laet,  Marcgrave,  and  other  writers  mention 
their  being  an  article  of  food  in  different  parts  of  South 
America.  Piso  speaks  of  yellow  Ants  called  Cupia  inhab- 
iting Brazil,  the  abdomen  of  which  many  used  for  food,  as 
well  as  a  large  species  under  the  name  of  Tama-joura: 
"Alia  prffiterea  datur  grandis  species  Tama-ioura  dicta 
digiti  articulura  ad^equans.  Quarum  etiam  clunes  dessicantur 
et  friguntur  pro  bono  alimento."^  Says  De  Laet :  "Deuique 
formicffi  hie  visuntur  grandissimse,  quas  indigenas  vulgo 
comedunt ;  et  in  foris  venales  habent."*  And  again  :  "  For- 
micis  vescebantur,  easquag  studiose  ad  victum  educabant."^ 
Lucas  Fernandes  Piedrahita,  in  his  Hi^toria  General  de 
las  Conquistas  del  Nuevo  Regno  de  Grranada,  states  that 
cakes  of  Cazave  and  Ants  were  eaten  in  that  country: 
"Al  tiempo  de  tostarlas  para  este  efecto,  dan  el  mismo  olor 
que  los  quesillos,  que  se  labran  para  comer  asados.'"^  Her- 
rera  says,  the  natives  of  New  Granada  made  their  main  food 
of  Ants,  which  they  kept  and  reared  in  their  yards.'^  Sloane 
confirms  this,  and  says  they  are  publicly  sold  in  the  markets.^ 
Abbeville  de  Noromba  tells  us  these  great  Ants  are  fricasseed.* 
Schomburgk,  in  his  journey  to  the  sources  of  the  Essequibo, 
one  evening  saw  all  the  boys  of  a  village  out  shouting  and 
chasing  with  sticks  and  palm  leaves  a  large  species  of  winged 
Ant,  which  they  collected  in  great  numbers  in  their  cala- 
bashes for  food.  When  roasted  or  boiled,  he  says,  the  na-  ] 
tives  considered  these  insects  a  great  delicacy. ^°  Humboldt  • 
informs  us  that  Ants  are  eaten  by  the  Marivatanos  and  : 
Margueritares,  mixed  with  resin  for  sauce.^^ 

1  The  Mirror,  xxxi.  342. 

2  Smith's  Nature  and  Art,  xii.  197. 

3  Hist.  Nat.,  i.  9,  and  v.  291.  Cf.  Sloane,  Hist,  of  Jam  ,  ii.  221. 
*  Amer.  Utriusq.  Hesc,  p.  333.  5  Jbid.,  p.  379. 
6  Southey's  Com.  Place  Book,  3d  S.  p.  346-7. 

T  Herrera,  vi.  5,  6. 

8  Hist,  of  Jam.,  ii.  221.  9  Quoted,  Ibid. 

10  Journ.  of  Geoff.  Soc,  1841,  x.  175. 

11  Quot.  by  K.  and  S.  Introd.,  i.  309. 


Mr.  Consett,  in  his  Travels  in  Sweden,  makes  mention  of 
a  young  Swede  who  ate  live  Ants  with  the  greatest  relish  im- 
aginable.^ This  author  states  also,  that  in  some  parts  of 
Sweden  Ants  are  distilled  along  with  rye,  to  give  a  flavor 
to  the  inferior  kinds  of  brandy.'^ 

The  inhabitants  of  the  Tonga  Group  have  a  superstitious 
belief  that  when  their  kings,  and  matabooles,  or  inferior 
chiefs,  die,  they  are  wafted  to  Bulotu — "  the  island  of  the 
blessed,"  but  the  spirits  of  the  lower  class  remain  in  the 
world,  and  feed  on  Ants  and  lizards.^ 

Ants  also  furnish  us  with  an  acid,  called  by  the  chemists 
Formic,  which  is  said  to  answer  the  same  purposes  as  the 
acetous  acid.  It  is  obtained  in  two  modes  :  1st.  By  distilla- 
tion ;  the  insects  are  introduced  into  a  glass  retort,  distilled 
by  a  gentle  heat,  and  the  acid  is  found  in  the  recipient.  2d. 
By  the  process  called  lixiviation ;  the  Ants  are  washed  in 
cold  water,  spread  out  upon  a  linen  cloth,  and  boiling  water 
poured  over  them,  which  becomes  charged  with  the  acid 

Formic  acid  is  shed  so  sensibly  by  the  wood  Ant,  Formica 
rufa,  when  an  Ant-hill  is  stirred,  that  it  can  occasion  an 
inflammation.  If  a  living  frog,  it  is  asserted,  be  fixed  upon 
an  Ant-hill  which  is  deranged,  the  animal  will  die  in  less 
than  five  minutes,  even  without  having  been  bitten  by  the 

We  read  in  Purchas's  Pilgrims  that  the  large  Ant  of  the 
West  Indies  is  "  so  poysonfull  that  herewith  the  Indians 
infect  their  arrowes  so  remedilesse,  that  not  foure  of  an 
hundred  which  are  wounded  escape."*^ 

The  medicinal  virtues  of  the  Ant  are  as  follows :  "Ants, 
Formica  minor  of  Schroder,  heat  and  dry,  and  incite  to 
venery  ;  their  acid  smell  mightily  refreshes  the  vital  spirits. 
They  are  said  to  cure  the  Flora,  Lepra,  and  Lentigo.  The 
eggs  (pupse)  are  effectual  against  deafness,  and  correct  the 
hairiness  of  the  cheeks  of  children  being  rubbed  thereon." 

The  Horse-ant,  Formica  major,  Schrod.,  ''provokes  to 

1  Trav.  in  Swed.,  p.  118,  Lond.  1789,  4to.  '  Ibid. 

3  Jenkin's  Vo^.  of  U.  S.  Explor.  Exped.  Com.  by  Wilkes,  Svo.  Auburn, 
1852,  p.  319. 

*  Cuv.  An.  Kingd. — Insects,  ii.  489.  «>  Ibid. 

6  Pilgrims,  iii.  996. 



venery,  and  the  oil  thereof,  by  infusion,  is  good  for  the  gout 
and  palsy. "^ 

Sloane  tells  us  the  Spaniards  in  the  West  Indies  have  a 
very  highly  valued  medicated  earth  called  "Makimaki," 
which  he  thinks  is  made  of  the  nests  of  Ants.^ 

There  is  a  sjjccies  of  Ant  in  Cayenne,  Formica  bispinosa, 
which  collects  from  the  borabax  and  silk-cottou  trees  a  sort 
of  lint  which  the  natives  value  much  as  a  styptic  in  cases  of 

The  magicians,  as  mentioned  by  Pliny,  recommended  that 
the  parings  of  all  the  finger-nails  should  be  thrown  at  the 
entrance  of  Ant-holes,  and  the  first  Ant  to  be  taken  which 
should  attempt  to  draw  one  into  the  hole  ;  for  if  this,  they 
asserted,  be  attached  to  the  neck  of  a  patient,  he  will  ex- 
perience a  speedy  cure.* 

The  two  following  remarkable  cures  effected  by  Ants  of 
themselves  are  worthy  of  being  noticed :  Schuman,  a  mis- 
sionary among  the  negroes  of  Surinam,  relates  in  one  of 
his  letters,  that  after  a  most  dangerous  attack  of  the  accli- 
mating fever,  his  body  was  covered  with  boils  and  painful 
sores.  He  lay  in  his  cot  as  helpless  as  a  child,  and  had  no 
one  to  administer  any  relief  or  food  but  a  poor  old  negro 
woman,  who  sometimes  was  obliged  to  follow  the  rest  to  the 
plantations  in  the  woods.  One  morning  while  she  was  absent, 
after  spending  a  most  restless  and  painful  night,  he  observed 
at  sunrise  an  immense  host  of  Ants  entering  through  the  roof, 
and  spread  themselves  over  the  inside  of  his  chamber ;  and 
expecting  little  else  than  that  they  would  make  a  meal  of 
him,  he  commended  his  soul  to  God,  and  hoped  thus  to  be 
released  from  all  suffering.  They  presently  covered  his  bed, 
and  entering  his  sores  caused  him  the  most  tormenting  pain. 
However,  tliey  soon  quitted  him,  and  continued  their  march, 
and  from  that  time  he  gradually  recovered  his  health.^ 

The  second  is  a  case  of  stiffness  in  the  knee  effectually 
cured:  In  1798,  Mrs.  Jane  Crabley,  aged  56  years,  begau 
to  complain  of  a  most  torturing  pain,  and  considerable  en- 
largement of  the  knee-pan,  which  she    described  as,  and 

^  James's  jVcd.  Diet. 

2  Hitit.  of  Jam.,  ii.  221. 

3  Brande's  Encycl.  of  Sci.  Lit.,  etc. 
*  Pliny,  Nat.  Hist.,  xxviii.  7  (23). 

&  SouLhey's  Com.  Place  Book,  3d  S.  p.  419. 

rORMICID^ — ANTS.  163 

which  her  neighbors  believed  to  be,  a  smart  paroxysm  of 
^^out.  Early  in  February,  1799,  the  inflammation  and  pain 
entirely  ceased,  but  the  swelling  continued,  and  rather  in- 
creased. The  joint  of  the  knee,  from  disuse,  became  per- 
fectly stiff,  and,  owing  to  the  particular  form  and  size  of 
her  breasts,  no  relief  could  be  gained  by  the  use  of  crutches. 
However,  toward  the  end  of  May,  the  Ants  became  so 
strangely  troublesome  to  her,  that  she  was  sometimes  obliged 
to  avail  herself  of  the  help  of  travelers  to  assist  her  in 
changing  her  station.  Still,  however,  they  followed  her,  and 
seemed  entirely  attracted  by  her  now  useless  knee.  She 
was  at  first  considerably  annoyed  by  these  little  torments, 
but,  in  a  few  days,  became  not  only  reconciled  to  their 
intrusion,  but  was  desirous  of  having  her  chair  placed 
where  she  imagined  them  most  to  abound,  even  giving  them 
freer  access  to  her  knee  by  turning  down  her  stocking ;  for, 
she  said,  "the  cold  numbness  she  suffered  just  around  the 
patella  was  eased  and  relieved  by  their  bite ;  and  that  it  was 
even  pleasurable;"  and,  strange  to  say,  these  insects  bit  her 
nowhere  else.  The  skin  at  first  was  pale  and  sallow,  but 
began  now  to  assume  a  lively  red  color;  a  clear  and  subtile 
liquid  oozed  from  every  puncture  the  Ants  had  left;  the 
swelling  and  stiffness  of  the  joint  gradually  abated;  and, 
on  the  25th  of  July,  she  walked  home  with  the  help  of  a 
stick,  and  before  winter  perfectly  recovered  the  use  of  her 

Says  Plutarch,  as  translated  by  Holland:  "The  bear  find- 
ing herself  upon  fulness  given  to  loth  and  distaste  for  food, 
she  goes  to  find  out  Ants'  nests,  where  she  sits  her  down, 
lining  out  her  tongue,  which  is  glib  and  soft  with  a  kind  of 
sweet  and  slimy  humour,  until  it  be  full  of  Ants  and  their 
egges,  then  draweth  it  she  in  again,  swalloweth  them  down, 
and  thereby  cureth  her  lothing  stomack.'" 

Also,  in  the  Treasurie  of  Avncient  and  Moderne  Times, 
we  find:  "The  Bear,  being  poysoned  by  the  Hearbe  named 
Mandragoras,  or  Mandrake,  doth  purge  his  bodie  by  the 
eating  of  Ants  or  Pismires."'^ 

M.  Huber,  initiated  in  the  mysteries  of  the  life  of  these 

1  Gent.  Mag.,  Pt.  II.  Isxiii.  704-5,  and  Kirby's  Wond.  Museum,  i. 

2  Land  and  Water  Creatures  Compared,  Holl.  Trans.,  p.  793. 
8  B.  7,  c.  XV.  p.  664.  Printed  1613. 


insects,  and  whose  observations  can  be  most  relied  on,  has 
made  us  acquainted  with  two  of  their  maladies :  one  is  a 
species  of  vertigo,  occasioned,  as  he  thinks,  by  a  too  prreat 
heat  of  the  sun,  and  which  transforms  them  for  two  or  three 
minutes  into  a  sort  of  bacchantes;  the  other  malady,  much 
more  severe,  causes  them  to  lose  the  faculty  of  directing 
themselves  in  a  right  line.  These  Ants  turn  in  a  very  nar- 
row circle,  and  always  in  the  same  direction.  A  virgin 
female,  inclosed  in  a  sand-box,  and  attacked  by  this  mania, 
made  a  thousand  turns  by  the  hour,  describing  a  circle  of 
about  an  inch  in  diam.eter ;  it  continued  this  operation  for 
seven  days,  and  even  during  the  night. ^ 

Immense  swarms  of  winged  Ants  are  occasionally  met 
with,  and  some  have  been  recorded  of  such  prodigious  den- 
sity and  magnitude  as  to  darken  the  air  like  a  thick  cloud, 
and  to  cover  the  ground  or  water  for  a  considerable  extent 
where  they  settled.  We  find  in  the  memoirs  of  the  Berlin 
Academy  a  description  of  a  remarkable  swarm,  observed  by 
M.  Gleditch,  which  from  afar  produced  an  effect  somewhat 
similar  to  that  of  an  Aurora  Borealis,  when,  from  the  edge 
of  the  cloud,  shoot  forth  by  jets  many  columns  of  flame  and 
vapor,  many  rays  like  lightning,  but  without  its  brilliancy. 
Columns  of  Ants  were  coming  and  going  here  and  there, 
but  always  rising  upward,  with  inconceivable  rapidity.  They 
appeared  to  raise  themselves  above  the  clouds,  to  thicken 
there,  and  become  more  and  more  ol)scure.  Other  columns 
followed  the  preceding,  raised  themselves  in  like  manner, 
shooting  forth  many  times  with  equal  swiftness,  or  mounting 
one  after  the  other.  Each  column  resembled  a  very  slender 
net-work,  and  exhibited  a  tremulous,  undulating,  and  ser- 
pentine motion.  It  was  composed  of  an  innumerable  mul- 
titude of  little  winged  insects,  altogether  black,  which  were 
continually  ascending  and  descending  in  an  irregular  man- 
ner.^ A  similar  kind  of  Ants  is  spoken  of  by  ]\lr.  Acco- 
lutte,  a  clergyman  of  Breslau,  Which  resembled  columns  of 
smoke,  and  which  fell  on  the  churches  and  tops  of  the 
houses,  where  they  could  be  gathered  by  handfuls.  In  the 
German  Ephemerides,  Dr.  Chas.  Rayger  gives  an  account 
of  a  large  swarm  which  crossed  over  the  town  of  Posen,  and 
was  directing  its  course  toward  the  Danube.     The  whole 

1  Cuv.  An.  Kingd. — Ins.,  ii.  472. 

2  Mem.  Berlin  Acad,  for  1749. 


town  was  strewed  with  Ants,  so  that  it  was  impossible  to 
walk  without  crushing  thirty  or  forty  at  every  step.  And 
more  recently,  Mr.  Dorthes,  in  the  Journal  de  Phyi^ique  for 
1*790,  relates  the  appearance  of  a  similar  phenomenon  at 
Montpellier.  The  shoals  moved  about  in  different  direc- 
tions, having  a  singular  intestine  motion  in  each  column, 
and  also  a  general  motion  of  rotation.  About  sunset  all 
fell  to  the  ground,  and,  on  examining  them,  they  were  found 
to  belong  to  the  Formica  nigra  of  Linnaeus.^ 

"In  September,  1814,"  says  Dr.  Bromley,  surgeon  of 
the  Clorinde,  in  a  letter  to  Mr.  MacLeay,  "being  on  the  deck 
of  the  hulk  to  the  Clorinde  (then  in  the  river  Medway),  my 
attention  was  drawn  to  the  water  by  the  first  lieutenant  ob- 
serving there  was  something  black  floating  down  the  tide. 
On  looking  with  a  glass,  I  discovered  they  were  insects. 
The  boat  was  sent,  and  brought  a  bucketful  of  them  on 
board;  they  proved  to  be  a  large  species  of  Ant,  and  ex- 
tended from  the  upper  part  of  Salt-pan  Reach  out  toward 
the  Great  Nore,  a  distance  of  five  or  six  miles.  The  column 
appeared  to  be  in  breadth  eight  or  ten  feet,  and  in  height 
about  six  inches,  which  I  suppose  must  have  been  from  their 
resting  one  upon  another."^  Purchas  seems  to  have  wit- 
nessed a  similar  phenomenon  on  shore.  "  Other  sorts  of 
Ants,"  says  he,  "there  are  many,  of  which  some  become 
winged,  and  fill  the  air  with  swarms,  which  sometimes  hap- 
pens in  England.  On  Bartholomew,  1613,  I  was  in  the 
island  of  Foulness,  on  our  Essex  shore,  where  were  such 
clouds  of  these  flying  pismires,  that  we  could  nowhere  flee 
from  them,  but  they  filled  our  clothes;  yea,  the  floors  of 
some  houses  where  they  fell  were  in  a  manner  covered  with 
a  black  carpet  of  creeping  Ants,  which  they  say  drown 
themselves  about  that  time  of  the  year  in  the  sea."^ 

When  Colonel  Sir  Augustus  Frazer,  of  the  British  horse- 
artillery,  was  surveying,  on  the  6th  of  October,  1813,  the 
scene  of  the  battle  of  the  Pyrenees  from  the  summit  of  the 
mountain  called  Pena  de  Aya,  or  Les  Quartres  Couronnes, 
he  and  his  friends  were  enveloped  by  a  swarm  of  Ants,  so  nu- 
merous as  entirely  to  intercept  their  view,  so  that  they  were 

1  Penny  EncycL,  sub.  Ant. 

2  K.  and  S.  Introd.,  ii.  54. 

3  Pilgrimage,  p.  1090. 



obliged  to  remove  to  another  station  in  order  to  get  rid  of 

"  Not  long  since,"  says  Josselyn  in  his  Yoyage  to  New 
England,  London,  1674,  "winged  Ants  were  poured  down 
upon  the  Lands  out  of  the  clouds  in  a  storm  betwixt  Black- 
point  and  Saco,  where  the  passenger  might  have  walkt  up 
to  the  Ancles  in  them."^ 

^yingless  Ants,  in  swarms  or  armies,  also  migrate  at  par- 
ticular seasons  ;  but  for  what  purpose  is  not  clear,  except 
to  obtain  better  forage.  In  Guiana,  Mr.  Waterton  says  he 
has  met  with  a  colony  of  a  species  of  small  Ant  marching 
in  order,  each  having  in  its  mouth  a  leaf;  and  the  army  ex- 
tended three  miles  in  length,  and  was  six  feet  broad. ^ 

It  is  recorded  by  Oviedo  and  Herrera,  that  the  whole 
island  of  Hispaniola  was  almost  abandoned  in  consequence 
of  the  Sugar-Ant,  Formica  omnivora  of  Liunagus,  which, 
in  1518  and  the  two  succeeding  years,  overran  in  such  count- 
less myriads  that  island,  devouring  all  vegetation,  and  caus- 
ing a  famine  which  nearly  depopulated  the  Spanish  colony. 
A  tradition,  says  Schomburgk,  prevails  in  Jamaica  that  the 
town  of  Sevilla  Nueva,  which  was  founded  by  Esquivel  in 
the  beginning  of  the  sixteenth  century,  was  entirely  de- 
serted for  a  similar  reason.  Herrera  relates  that,  in  order 
to  get  rid  of  this  fearful  scourge  in  Hispaniola,  the  priests 
caused  great  processions  and  vows  to  be  made  in  honor  of 
their  patron  saint,  St.  Saturnin,  and  that  the  day  of  this 
saint  was  celebrated  with  great  solemnities,  and  the  Ants  in 
consequence  began  to  disappear.  How  this  saint  was  chosen, 
we  read  in  Purchas's  Pilgrims  :  "  This  miserie  (caused  by  the 
Ants)  so  perplexed  the  Spaniards,  that  they  sought  as  strange 
a  remedie  as  was  the  disease,  which  was  to  chuse  some  Saint 
for  their  Patron  against  the  Antes.  Alexander  Giraldine, 
the  Bishop,  having  sung  a  solemne  and  Pontifical  Masse, 
after  the  consecration  and  Eleuation  of  the  Sacrament,  and 
devout  prayers  made  by  him  and  the  people,  opened  a 
Booke  in  which  was  a  Catalogue  of  the  Saints,  by  lot  to 
chuse  some  he  or  she  Saint,  whom  God  should  please  to 
appoint  their  Advocate  against  the  Calamitie.  And  the 
Lot  fell  vpon  Saint  Saturnine,  whose  Feast  is  on  the  nine 

1  K.  and  S.  Introd.,  u    54. 

2  Josa.  Vol/.,  p.  118. 

8  Biiird's  Cyclop,  of  Nat.  Sci. 


and  twentieth  of  Nouember;  after  which  the  Ant  damage 
became  more  tolerable,  and  by  little  and  little  diminished, 
by  God's  mercie  and  intercession  of  that  Saint. "^ 

These  devouring  Ants  showed  themselves  about  the  year 
1760  in  Barbados,  and  caused  such  devastations  that,  in 
the  words  of  Dr.  Coke,  "it  was  deliberated  whether  that 
island,  formerly  so  flourishing,  should  not  be  deserted."  In 
1703,  Martinique  was  visited  by  these  devastating  hordes; 
and  about  the  year  1770  they  made  their  appearance  in  the 
island  of  Granada.  Barbados,  Granada,  and  Martinique 
suffered  more  than  any  other  islands  from  this  plague. 
Granada  especially  was  reduced  to  a  state  of  the  most  de- 
plorable desolation;  for,  it  is  said,  their  numbers  there 
were  so  immense  that  they  covered  the  roads  for  many 
miles  together ;  and  so  crowded  were  they  in  many  places 
that  the  impressions  made  by  the  feet  of  horses,  which  trav- 
eled over  them,  would  remain  visible  but  for  a  moment  or 
two,  for  they  were  almost  instantly  filled  up  by  the  sur- 
rounding swarms.  Mr.  Schomburgk  assures  us  that  calves, 
pigs,  and  chickens,  when  in  a  helpless  state,  were  attacked 
by  such  large  numbers  of  these  Ants  that  they  perished,  and 
were  soon  reduced  to  skeletons  when  not  timely  assisted. 
It  is  asserted  by  Dr.  Coke  that  the  greatest  precaution  was 
requisite  to  prevent  their  attacks  on  men  who  were  afflicted 
witli  sores,  on  women  who  were  confined,  and  on  children 
that  were  unable  to  assist  themselves,  Mr.  Castle,  from  his 
own  observation,  states  that  even  burning  coals  laid  in  their 
way,  were  extinguished  by  the  amazing  numbers  which 
rushed  upon  them. 

Notwithstanding  the  myriads  that  were  destroyed  by  fire, 
water,  poison,  and  other  means,  the  devastations  continued 
to  such  an  alarming  extent,  that  in  1776  the  government  of 
Martinique  offered  a  reward  of  a  million  of  their  currency 
for  a  remedy  against  this  plague;  and  the  legislature  of 
Granada  offered  £20,000  for  the  same  object ;  but  all  at- 
tempts proved  ineffectual  until  the  hurricane  in  1780  effected 
what  human  power  had  been  unable  to  accomplish. 

In  1814,  the  Ants  again  made  their  appearance  in  the 
island  of  Barbados,  doing  considerable  injury;  but  happily 
they  did  not  continue  long.^ 

1  Purehas's  Pilgrims,  iii.  998. 

2  Schomburgk's  Hist,  of  Barbados,  G40-3 ;  and  Coke's  West  Indies, 
ii.  313. 


Malouet,  in  visiting  the  forests  of  Guiana,  of  which  he 
has  spoken  in  his  travels  into  that  part  of  the  globe,  per- 
ceived in  the  midst  of  a  level  savanna,  as  far  as  the  eye 
could  reach,  a  hillock  which  he  would  have  attributed  to 
the  hand  of  man,  if  M.  de  Prefontaine,  who  accompanied 
him,  had  not  informed  him  that,  in  spite  of  its  gigantic  con- 
struction, it  was  the  work  of  black  Ants  of  the  largest  spe- 
cies (most  probably  of  the  genus  Ponera).  He  proposed 
to  conduct  him,  not  to  the  Ant-hill,  where  both  of  them 
would  infallibly  have  been  devoured,  but  to  the  road  of  the 
workers.  M.  Malouet  did  not  approach  within  more  than 
forty  paces  of  the  habitation  of  these  insects.  It  had  the 
form  of  a  pyramid  truncated  at  one-third  of  its  height,  and 
he  estimated  that  its  elevation  might  be  about  fifteen  or 
twenty  feet,  on  a  basis  of  from  thirty  to  forty.  M.  de  Prefon- 
taine told  him  that  the  cultivators  were  obliged  to  abandon 
a  new  establishment,  when  they  had  the  misfortune  to  meet 
with  one  of  these  fortresses,  unless  they  had  sufficient 
strength  to  form  a  regular  siege.  This  even  occurred  to 
M.  de  Prefontaine  himself  on  his  first  encampment  at 
Kourva.  He  was  desirous  of  forming  a  second  a  little  far- 
ther on,  and  perceived  upon  the  soil  a  mound  of  earth  simi- 
lar to  that  which  we  have  just  described.  He  caused  a  cir- 
cular trench  to  be  hollowed,  which  he  filled  with  a  great 
quantity  of  dry  wood,  and,  after  having  set  fire  to  it  in 
every  point  of  its  circumference,  he  attacked  the  Ant-hill 
with  a  train  of  artillery.  Thus  every  issue  was  closed  to 
the  hostile  army,  which,  to  escape  from  the  invasion  of  the 
flames  and  the  shaking  and  plowing  of  the  ground  by  the 
cannon-balls,  was  obliged  to  traverse,  in  its  retreat,  a  trench 
filled  with  fire,  where  it  was  entirely  cut  off.^ 

The  Portuguese  found  such  prodigious  numbers  of  Ants 
upon  their  first  landing  at  Brazil,  that  they  called  them  Key 
de  Brazil,  King  of  Brazil,  a  name  which  they  now  there 

Mr.  Southey  states,  on  the  authority  of  Manoel  Felix,  that 
the  Red-ants  devoured  the  cloths  of  the  altar  in  the  Convent 
of  S.  Antonio,  or  S.  Luiz  (Maranhara,  Brazil),  and  also 
brought  up  into  the  church  pieces  of  shrouds  from  the 
graves ;  whereupon  the  friars  prosecuted  them  according  to 

1  Cuv.  An.  Kingd. — Ins.,  ii.  471. 

2  rinkerton's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  xiv.  716. 


due  form  of  ecclesiastical  law.  What  the  sentence  was  in 
this  case,  we  are  unable  to  learn.  A  similar  case,  however, 
the  historian  informs  us,  had  occurred  in  the  Franciscan 
Convent  at  Avignon,  where  the  Ants  did  so  much  mischief 
that  a  suit  was  instituted  against  them,  and  they  were  ex- 
communicated, and  ordered  by  the  friars,  in  pursuance  of 
their  sentence,  to  remove  within  three  days  to  a  place  as- 
signed them  in  the  center  of  the  earth.  The  Canonical 
account  gravely  adds,  that  the  Ants  obeyed,  and  carried 
away  all  their  young,  and  all  their  stores.^ 

Annius  writes,  that  an  ancient  city  situate  near  the  Yols- 
cian  Lake,  and  called  Contenebra,  was  in  times  past  over- 
thrown by  Ants,  and  that  the  place  was  thereupon  commonly 
called  to  his  day,  "the  camp  of  the  Ants."^ 

Ctesias  makes  mention  "  of  a  horse-pismire  {i.e.  the  bigger 
kind  of  them  in  hollow  trees)  which  was  fed  by  the  Magi, 
till  hee  grew  to  such  a  vast  bulke  as  to  devour  two  pound 
of  flesh  a  daye."^ 

Martial  has  written  the  following  beautiful  epigram  on 
an  Ant  inclosed  in  amber  :  "While  an  Ant  was  wandering 
under  the  shade  of  the  tree  of  Phaeton,  a  drop  of  amber 
enveloped  the  tiny  insect;  thus  she,  who  in  life  was  disre- 
garded, became  precious  by  death. 

"A  drop  of  amber  from  the  weeping  plant, 
Fell  unexpected  and  embalmed  an  Ant; 
The  little  insect  we  so  much  contemn 
Is,  from  a  worthless  Ant,  become  a  gem."* 

It  has  been  said,  remarks  Mr.  Southey,  and  regarded  as  a 
vulgar  error,  that  Ants  cannot  pass  over  a  line  of  chalk  :  the 
fact,  however,  is  certain.  Mr.  Coleridge  tried  the  experi- 
ment at  Malta,  he  continues,  and  immediately  discovered 
tlie  cause  :  The  formic  acid  is  so  powerful,  that  it  acts  upon 
the  chalk,  and  the  legs  of  the  insect  are  burnt  by  the  in- 
stantaneous eflervescence  !^ 

Paxamus  says,  that  if  you  take  some  Ants  and  burn  them, 
you  will  drive  away  the  others,  as  experience  has  taught  us. 

1  Southey's  Hist,  of  Brazil,  iii.  334,  note. 

2  Wanley's  Wonders,  ii.  507. 

•*  Thom    Browne's  Works,  ii.  837,  note. 

*  Martial,  B.  iv.  15. 

^  Southey,  Iliist.  of  Brazil,  i.  G45. 


Ants  also,  he  continues,  will  not  touch  a  vessel  with  honey, 
although  the  vessel  may  happen  to  be  without  its  cover,  if 
you  wrap  it  in  white  wool,  or  if  you  scatter  white  earth  or 
ruddle  round  it.  If  a  person,  continues  Paxaraus,  takes  a 
grain  of  wheat  carried  by  an  Ant  wiih  the  thumb  of  his  left 
hand,  and  lays  it  in  a  skin  of  Phoenician  dye,  and  ties  it 
round  the  head  of  his  wife,  it  will  prove  to  be  the  cause  of 
abortion  in  a  state  of  gestation.^ 

Pliny  says  the  proper  remedy  for  the  venom  of  the  Soli- 
puga  or  Solpuga  Ant,  and  for  that  of  all  kinds  of  Ants,  is  a 
bat's  hcart.^ 

Callicrates  used  to  make  Ants,  and  other  such  little  crea- 
tures, out  of  ivory,  with  so  much  skill  and  ingenuity  that 
other  men  could  not  discern  the  counterfeits  from  the  origi- 
nals even  with  the  help  of  glasses.^ 

VespidsD — Wasps,  Hornets. 

Concerning  the  generation  of  the  Wasp,  Topsel  and  Moufet 
have  the  following:  "  Isidore  affirms  that  Wasps  come  out 
of  the  putrefied  carkasses  of  asses,  although  he  may  be  mis- 
taken, for  all  agree  that  the  Scarabees  are  procreated  from 
them  :  rather  am  I  of  opinion  with  Pliny,  1.  ii.  c.  20,  and 
the  Greek  authors,  that  they  are  sprung  from  the  dead 
bodies  of  horses,  for  the  horse  is  a  valiant  and  warlike 
creature,  hence  is  that  verse  frequently  and  commonly  used 
among  the  Greeks : 

"Wasps  come  from  horses,  Bees  from  bulls  are  bred.  '• 

And  indeed  their  more  than  ordinary  swiftnesse  and  their     f 
eagernesse  in  fight,  are  sufficient  arguments  that  they  can     \ 
take  their  original  from  no  other  creature  (much  less  from     | 
an  asse,  hart,  or  oxe)  since  that  Nature  never  granted  to 
any  creatures  else,  to  excel  both  in  swiftness  and  valour. 
And  surely  that  I  may  give  another  sense  of  that  proverb 
of  Aristotle, 

1  Owen's  Geoponika,  ii.  148-9. 

2  Nat.  ILs(.,  xxix.  29. 

«  Wanley's  Wonders,  i.  378. 


Hail  the  daughters  of  the  wing-footed  steed  : 

this  would  I  suppose  fit  to  be  spoken  in  way  of  jest  and 
scorn  to  seolding  women,  which  do  imitate  the  hastiness  and 
froward  disposition  of  the  Wasp.  Other  sorts  of  them  are 
produced  out  of  the  putrid  corps  of  the  Crocodiles,  if  Horus 
and  the  JSgytians  be  to  be  believed,  for  which  reason  when 
they  mean  a  Wasp,  they  set  it  forth  by  an  horse  or  croco- 
dile. Nieander  gives  them  the  name  lukosnoadon,  because 
they  sometimes  come  from  the  dead  carkasses  of  wolves. 
Bellenacensis  and  Yicentius  say,  that  Wasps  come  out  of 
the  putrefaction  of  an  old  deer's  head,  flying  sometimes  out 
of  the  eyes,  sometimes  out  of  the  nostrils.  ,  .  .  There  are 
those  also  that  affirm  that  Wasps  are  begotten  of  the  earth 
and  rottenness  of  some  kind  of  fruits,  as  Albertus  and  the 
Arabick  scholiast." 

or  the  Hornet,  likewise,  these  writers  tell  the  following 
fabulous  stories  :  "  The  Latins  call  the  Hornets  Crabrones, 
perchance  from  the  village  Crabra  in  the  countrey  of  Tus- 
culura  (where  there  are  great  store  of  them),  or  from  the 
word  Caballus,  i.e.  a  horse,  who  is  said  to  be  their  father. 
According  to  that  of  Ovid,  Met.  15  : 

The  warlike  horse  if  buried  under  ground, 
Shortly  a  brood  of  Hornets  will  be  found. 

Albertus  calls  it  a  yellow  Bee.  Cardanus  will  needs  have 
them  to  arise  from  the  dead  mule.  Plutarch,  in  the  life  of 
Cleomedes,  saith  they  come  out  of  horse  flesh,  as  the  Bees 
do  out  of  the  oxe  his  paunch,  Virgil  saith  they  are  pro- 
duced of  the  asse.  ...  I  conceive  that  those  are  produced 
of  the  harder  flesh  of  the  horse,  and  the  Wasps  of  the  more 
tender  flesh.  "^ 

The  Hornet  (but  whether  or  not  it  was  the  common 
species,  Vespa  crabro,  Linn.,  is  uncertain),  we  learn  from 
Scriptures  was  employed  by  Providence  to  drive  out  the 
impious  inhabitants  of  Canaan,  and  subdue  them  under  the 
hand  of  the  Lsraelites. — "And  I  sent  the  Hornet  before  you, 
which  drave  them  out  before  you,  even  the  two  kings  of  the 

In  the  second  volume  of  Lieutenant  Holman's  Travels, 

1  Thea(r.  Ins.,  p.  40-50.  Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  921-7.  Vide 
'Pierius'  Ilieroffhjph.,  p.  267-8;  Pernicies  summota;  Pugnacitas ; 
Imperfecti  mores  civiles  ;  Perturbator. 

2  Josh.  xxiv.  12 ;  Deut.  vii.  20. 


the  following  anecdote  is  related  :  "Eight  miles  from  Gran- 
die ,  the  muleteers  suddenly  called  out  '  Marambundas  ! 

Mararabundas !'  which  indicated  the  approach  of  Wasps. 
In  a  moment  all  the  animals,  whether  loaded  or  otherwise, 
lay  down  on  their  backs,  kicli:ing  most  violently ;  while  the 
blacks,  and  all  persons  not  already  attacked,  ran  away  in 
different  directions,  all  being  careful,  by  a  wide  sweep,  to 
avoid  the  swarms  of  tormentors  that  came  forward  like  a 
cloud.  I  never  witnessed  a  panic  so  sudden  and  complete, 
and  really  believe  that  the  bursting  of  a  water-spout  could 
hardly  have  produced  more  commotion.  However,  it  must 
be  confessed  that  the  alarm  was  not  without  good  reason, 
for  so  severe  is  the  torture  inflicted  by  these  pigmy  assail- 
ants, that  the  bravest  travelers  are  not  ashamed  to  fly,  the 
instant  they  perceive  the  host  approaching,  which  is  of  com- 
mon occurrence  on  the  Campos."^ 

Dr.  Fairfax,  in  the  Philosophical  Transactions,  mentions 
a  lady,  who  had  such  a  horror  of  Wasps,  that  during  the 
season  in  which  they  abound  in  houses,  she  always  confined 
herself  to  her  apartment. "■^ 

Dr.  James  tells  us:  "The  combs  (of  the  Hornet)  are 
recommended  in  a  drench  for  that  disorder  in  horses,  which 
Yigetius,  L.  2,  c.  23,  calls  scrofula,  meaning,  I  believe,  what 
we  call  the  strangles."'' 

Hornets'-nest  is  smoked  under  horses'  noses  for  distemper, 
cold  in  the  head,  and  such  like  diseases.  It  is  also  given  to 
horses  in  their  feed  for  thick-windedness. 

The  nests  of  Hornets  are  gathered  by  the  country  people 
to  clean  spectacles. 

Topsel,  in  his  History  of  Four-footed  Beasts  and  Serpents, 
has  the  following  prognostications  of  the  weather  from  the 
appearances  of  Hornets  :  "  They  serve  instead  of  good 
almanacks  to  countrey  people,  to  foretel  tempests  and 
change  of  weather,  as  hail,  rain,  and  snow  :  for  if  they  flie 
about  in  greater  numbers,  and  be  oftner  seen  about  any 
place,  then  usually  they  are  wont,  it  is  a  sigue  of  heat  and 
fair  weather  the  next  day.  But  if  about  twilight  they  are 
observed  to  enter  often  their  nests,  as  though  they  would 
hide  themselves,  you  must  the  next  day  expect  rain,  winde, 

1  Kirby's  Bridgewater  Treatise. — Saturday  Mag.,  ix.  239. 

2  Phil.  Trans.,  i.  201. 
»  iMed.  Diet. 


or  some  stormy,  troublesome  or  boysterous  season  :  where- 
upon Avienus  hath  these  verses  : 

So  if  the  buzzing  troups  of  Hornets  hoarse  to  flie, 
*     In  spacious  air  'bout  Autumn's  end  you  see,  * 

When  Virgil  star  the  evening  lamp  espie, 
Then  from  the  sea -some  stormy  tempest  sure  shall  be."^ 

"  In  the  year  190,  before  the  birth  of  Christ,"  say  Moufet 
and  Topsel,  "  as  Julius  witnesseth,  an  infinite  multitude  of 
Wasps  flew  into  the  market  at  Capua,  and  sate  in  the  tem- 
ple of  Mars,  they  were  with  great  diligence  taken  and  burnt 
solemnly,  yet  they  did  foreshew  the  coming  of  the  enemy 
and  the  burning  of  the  city."^ 

The  first  Wasp  seen  in  the  season  should  always  be  killed. 
By  so  doing,  you  secure  to  yourself  good  luck  and  freedom 
from  enemies  throughout  the  year.^  This  is  an  English 
superstition,  and  it  prevails  in  parts  of  America.  We  have 
one,  also,  directly  opposed  to  it,  namely,  that  the  first  Wasp 
seen  in  the  season  should  not  be  killed  if  you  wish  to  secure 
to  yourself  good  luck.  Many  of  our  people,  too,  will  kill  a 
Wasp  at  no  time,  for,  if  killed,  they  say,  it  will  bring  upon 
them  bad  luck. 

If  a  Wasp  stings  you,  our  superstitious  think  that  your 
foes  will  get  the  advantage  of  you. 

If  the  first  Wasp  seen  in  the  season  be  seen  in  your  house, 
it  is  a  sign  that  you  will  form  an  unpleasant  acquaintance. 
If  the  first  Bee  seen  in  the  season  be  seen  in  your  house,  it 
!  is  a  sign  you  will  form  a  pleasant  and  useful  acquaintance. 
This  arose  doubtless  from  the  apparent  uselessness  of  the 
former,  and  worth  of  the  latter  insect. 

Wasps  building  in  a  house  foretell  the  coming  to  want  of 
the  family  occupying  it.  Likewise  arose  from  the  unthrifti- 
ness  of  this  insect. 

If  Hornets  build  high,  the  winter  will  be  dry  and  mild ; 
if  low,  cold  and  stormy.  This  is  firmly  believed  in  Virginia  ; 
and  the  idea  seems  to  be,  that  if  the  nesi  is  built  high  it  will 
be  more  exposed  to  the  wind  than  if  built  low. 

That  a  person  may  not  be  stung  by  Wasps,  Paxamus  says  : 

1  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  660. 

2  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  49.    Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  657,  927. 

3  Notes  and  Queries,  ii.  165. 


174  APIDiE — BEES. 

"Let  the  person  be  rubbed  with  the  juice  of  wild-mallow, 
and  he  will  not  be  stung. "^ 

The  Creoles  of  Mauritius  eat  the  larvae  of  Wasps,  which 
they  roast  in  the  combs.  In  taking  the  nests,  they  drive  off 
the  Wasps  by  means  of  a  burning  rag  fastened  to  the  end  of 
a  stick.     The  combs  are  sold  at  the  bazaar  of  Port  Louis. ^ 

The  following  story,  of  the  cunning  of  the  fox  in  killing 
the  Wasps  to  obtain  their  combs,  is  told  by  ^Elian :  "The 
fox  (a  subtile  creature)  is  said  to  prey  upon  the  Wasp  in 
this  manner:  he  puts  his  tail  into  the  Wasps'  nest  so  long 
till  it  be  all  covered  with  Wasps,  which  he  espying,  pulls  it 
out  and  beats  them  against  the  next  stone  or  tree  he  meets 
withall  till  they  be  all  dead,  this  being  done  again  and  again 
till  all  the  Wasps  be  destroyed,  he  sets  upon  their  combs 
and  devours  them.'" 

The  Chinese  Herbal  contains  a  singular  notion,  prevalent 
also  in  India,  concerning  the  generation  of  the  Sphex,  or 
solitary  Wasp.  AVhen  the  female  lays  her  eggs  in  the 
clayey  nidus  she  makes  in  houses,  she  incloses  the  dead 
body  of  a  caterpillar  in  it  for  the  subsistence  of  the  worms 
when  they  are  hatched.  Those  who  observed  her  entomb- 
ing the  caterpillar  did  not  look  for  the  eggs,  and  immediately 
concluded  that  the  Sphex  took  the  worm  for  the  progeny, 
and  say,  that  as  she  plastered  up  the  hole  of  the  nest,  she 
hummed  a  constant  song  over  it,  saying,  "Class  icith  me/ 
class  wilh  me!''' — and  the  transformation  gradually  took 
place,  and  was  perfected  in  its  silent  grave  by  the  next 
spring,  when  a  winged  Wasp  emerged,  to  continue  its  pos- 
terity the  coming  autumn  in  the  same  mysterious  way.* 

Apidae — Bees. 

Concerning  the  piety  of  Bees,   we   find   the   following 
legends : 

"A  certaine  simple  woman  having  some  stals  of  Bees  which 

^  Owen's  Geoponika,  ii.  211. 

2  Backhouse's  Mauritius,  p.  32. 

3  Moufet,    Theatr.   Insect.,   p.    47.      Topsel's    Hist,  of  Four-footed 
Beasts  and  Serpents,  p.  925,  655. 

*  William's  Middle  Kingdom;  or  Chinese  Empire,  i.  274. 


APID^ — BEES.  n5 

yeelded  not  vnto  her  hir  desired  profit,  but  did  consume  and 
die  of  the  murraine  ;  made  her  mone  to  another  woman  more 
simple  than  hir  selfe :  who  gave  her  councel  to  get  a  conse- 
crated host  or  round  Godamighty  and  put  it  among  them. 
According  to  whose  advice  she  went  to  the  priest  to  receive 
the  host ;  which  when  she  had  done,  she  kept  it  in  hir  mouth, 
and  being  come  home  againe  she  tooke  it  out  and  put  it  into 
one  of  hir  hives.  Wherevpon  the  murraine  ceased,  and  the 
honey  abounded.  The  woman  therefore  lifting  vp  the  hive 
at  the  due  time  to  take  out  the  honie,  sawe  there  (most 
strange  to  be  scene)  a  chapel  built  by  the  Bees  with  an  altar 
in  it,  the  wals  adorned  by  marvelous  skil  of  architecture  with 
windowes  conveniently  set  in  their  places  :  also  a  dore  and  a 
steeple  with  bels.  And  the  host  being  laid  vpou  the  altar, 
the  Bees  making  a  sweet  noise  flew  round  about  it."^ 

Mr.  Hawker's  legend  is  to  this  effect :  A  Cornish  woman, 
one  summer,  finding  her  Bees  refused  to  leave  their  "cloistered 
home"  and  had  "ceased  to  play  around  the  cottage  flowers," 
concealed  a  portion  of  the  Holy  Eucharist  which  she  ob- 
tained at  church : 

She  bore  it  to  her  distant  home, 

iShe  laid  it  by  the  hive 
To  lure  the  wanderers  forth  to  roam, 

That  so  her  store  might  thrive; — 
'Twas  a  wild  wish,  a  thought  unblest, 
Some  evil  legend  of  the  west. 

But  lo!   at  morning-tide  a  sign 

For  wondering  eyes  to  trace. 
They  found  above  that  Bread,  a  shrine 

Rear'd  by  the  harmless  race! 
Tliey  brought  their  walls  from  bud  and  flower, 
They  built  bright  roof  and  beamy  tower! 

Was  it  a  dream?   or  did  they  hear 

Float  from  those  golden  cells 
A  sound,  as  of  a  psaltery  near, 

Or  soft  and  silvery  bells? 
A  low  sweet  psalm,  that  grieved  within 
In  mournful  memory  of  the  sin! 2 

The  following  passage,  from  Howell's  Parley  of  Beasts, 

1  Thom.  Bozius  de  signis  Eccles.,  B.  14,  c.  iii.     Quot.  by  Butler, 
Fern.  Monarchie,  c.  i.  48. 

2  Quot.  in  Notes  and  Queries,  ix.  167. 

176  APID^ — BEES. 

furnishes  a  similar  legend  of  the  piety  of  Bees.  Bee 
speaks : 

"Know,  sir,  that  we  have  also  a  religion  as  well  as  you,  and 
so  exact  a  government  among  us  here;  our  huramings  you 
speak  of  are  as  so  many  hymns  to  the  Great  God  of  Nature ; 
and  there  is  a  miraculous  example  in  Cse^arius  Cislernieiisis, 
of  some  of  the  Holy  Eucharist  being  let  fall  in  a  meadow  by 
a  priest,  as  he  was  returning  from  visiting  a  sick  body;  a 
swarm  of  Bees  hard-by  took  It  up,  and  in  a  solemn  kind  of 
procession  carried  It  to  their  hive,  and  their  erected  an 
altar  of  the  purest  wax  for  it,  where  it  was  found  in  that 
form,  and  untouched.'" 

Butler,  quoting  Thomas  Bozius,  tells  us  the  following: 

"  Certaine  theeves  (thieves)  having  stolen  the  silver  boxe 
wherein  the  wafer-Gods  vse  to  lie,  and  finding  one  of  them 
there  being  loath,  belike,  that  he  should  lie  abroad  all  night, 
did  not  cast  him  away,  but  laid  him  under  a  hive :  whom  the 
Bees  acknowledging  advanced  to  a  high  roome  in  the  hive, 
and  there  insteade  of  his  silver  boxe  made  him  another  of 
the  whitest  wax :  and  when  they  had  so  done,  in  worshippe 
of  him,  and  set  howres  they  sang  most  sweetly  beyond  all 
measure  about  it :  yea  the  owner  of  them  took  them  at  it  at 
midnight  with  a  light  and  al.  Wherewith  the  bishop  being 
made  acquainted,  came  thither  with  many  others:  and  lifting 
vp  the  hive  he  sawe  there  neere  the  top  a  most  fine  boxe, 
wherein  the  host  was  laid,  and  the  quires  of  Bees  singing 
about  it,  and  keeping  watch  in  the  night,  as  monkes  do  in 
their  cloisters.  The  bishop  therefore  taking  the  host,  car- 
ried it  with  the  greater  honour  into  the  church :  whether 
many  resorting  were  cured  of  innumerable  diseases."^ 

Another  legend,  from  the  School  of  the  Eucharist,  is  as 
follows : 

"A  peasant  swayed  by  a  covetous  mind,  being  communi- 
cated on  Easter-Day,  received  the  Host  in  his  mouth,  and 
afterwards  laid  it  among  his  bees,  believing  that  all  the  Bees 
of  the  neighborhood  would  come  thither  to  work  their  wax 
and  honey.  This  covetous,  impious  wretch  was  not  wholly 
disappointed  of  his  hopes;  for  all  his  neighbors'  Bees  came 
indeed  to  his  hives,  but  not  to  make  honey,  but  to  render 
there  the  honours  due  to  the  Creator.     The  issue  of  their 

1  Parlpy  of  Beasts,  p.  144.     London,  IGGO. 

2  Uozius,  ubi  suj)ra.     Buller,  ubi  sicpra. 

APID^ — BEES.  Itt 

arrival  was  that  they  melodiously  sang:  to  Him  song^of 
praise  as  they  were  able;  after  that  they  built  a  little  church 
with  their  wax  from  the  foundations  to  the  roof,  divided  into 
three  rooms,  sustained  by  pillars,  with  their  bases  and  cha})i- 
ters.  They  had  there  also  an  Altar,  upon  which  they  had 
laid  the  precious  Body  of  our  Lord,  and  flew  round  about 
it,  continuing  their  musick.  The  peasant  ....  coming  nigh 
that  hive  where  he  had  put  the  H.  Sacrament,  the  Bees  is- 
sued out  furiously  by  troops,  and  surrounding  him  on  all 
sides,  revenged  the  irreverence  done  to  their  Creator,  and 
stung  him  so  severely  that  they  left  him  in  a  sad  case.  This 
punishment  made  this  miserable  wretch  come  to  himself,  who, 
acknowledging  his  error,  went  to  find  out  the  parish  priest  to 
confess  his  fault  to  him  .   .  .   .   "  etc.^ 

We  quote  also  another  from  the  School  of  the  Eucharist: 

"A  certain  peasant  of  Auvergne,  a  province  in  France, 
perceiving  that  his  Bees  were  likely  to  die,  to  prevent  this 
misfortune,  was  advised,  after  he  had  received  the  com- 
munion, to  reserve  the  Host,  and  to  blow  it  into  one  of  the 
hives.  As  he  tried  to  do  it,  the  Host  fell  on  the  ground. 
Behold  now  a  wonder!  On  a  sudden  all  the  Bees  came 
forth  out  of  their  hives,  and  ranging  themselves  in  good  or- 
der, lifted  the  Host  from  the  ground,  and  carrying  it  in 
upon  their  wings,  placed  it  among  the  combes.  After  this 
the  man  went  out  about  his  business,  and  at  his  return  found 
that  this  advice  had  succeeded  ill,  for  all  his  Bees  were 
dead  .  .  .  ."'^ 

We  will  close  this  series  of  legends  with  one  from  the 
Lives  of  the  Saints : 

"When  a  thief  by  night  had  stolen  St.  Medard's  Bees, 
they,  in  their  master's  quarrel,  leaving  their  hive,  set  upon 
the  malefactor,  and  eagerly  pursuing  him  which  way  soever 
he  ran,  would  not  cease  stinging  of  him  until  they  had  made 
him  (v/hether  he  would  or  no)  to  go  back  again  to  their 
master's  house;  and  there,  falling  prostrate  at  his  feet,  sub- 
missly  to  cry  him  mercy  for  the  crime  committed.  Which 
being  done,  so  soon  as  the  Saint  extended  unto  him  the 
hand  of  benediction,  the  Bees,  like  obedient  servants,  did 
forthwith  stay  from  persecuting  him,  and  evidently  yielded 

1  Vicentius  in  Spec.  Moral,  B.  2,  D.  21,  p.  3.     N.  and  Q.,  x.  499. 

2  Pet   Cluniac,  B.  1,  c.  i.     N.  and  Q  ,  x.  199. 


1Y8  APID^ — BEES. 

themselves  to  the  ancient  possession  and  custody  of  their 

By  the  Greeks,  Bees  were  accounted  an  omen  of  future 
eloquence  ;'^  the  soothsayers  of  the  Romans,  however,  deemed 
them  always  of  evil  augury.^  They  afforded  also  to  the 
Romans  presages  of  public  interest,  "clustering,  as  they 
do,  like  a  bunch  of  grapes,  upon  houses  or  temples;  pres- 
ages, in  fact,  that  are  often  accounted  for  by  great  events."* 
The  instances  of  happy  omens  afforded  by  swarms  of  Bees 
are  the  following : 

''It  is  said  of  Pindar,"  we  read  In  Pausanias'  History  of 
Greece,  "that  when  he  was  a  young  man,  as  he  was  going 
to  Thespia,  being  wearied  with  the  heat,  as  it  was  noon,  and 
in  the  height  of  summer,  he  fell  asleep  at  a  small  distance 
from  the  public  road;  and  that  Bees,  as  he  was  asleep,  flew 
to  him  and  wrought  their  honey  on  his  lips.  This  circum- 
stance first  induced  Pindar  to  compose  verses."^ 

A  similar  incident  is  mentioned  in  the  life  of  Plato  : 
"  Whilst  Plaio  was  yet  an  infant  carried  in  the  arms  of 
his  mother  Ferictione,  Aristo  his  father  went  to  Hymettus 
(a  mountain  in  Attica  eminent  for  abundance  of  Bees  and 
Honey)  to  sacrifice  to  the  Muses  or  Nymphs,  taking  his 
Wife  and  Child  along  with  him;  as  they  were  busied  in  the 
Divine  Rites,  she  laid  the  Child  in  a  Thicket  of  Myrtles  hard 
by;  to  whom,  as  he  slept  {in  cunis  dormienti)  came  a 
Swarm  of  Bees,  Artists  of  Hymettian  Honey,  flying  and 
buzzing  about  him,  and  (as  it  is  reported)  made  a  Honey- 
comb in  his  mouth.  This  was  taken  for  a  presage  of  the 
singular  sweetness  of  his  discourse;  his  future  Eloquence 
foreseen  in  his  infancy."^ 

From  Butler's  Lives  of  the  Saints  we  have  the  following  : 

"The  birth  of  St.  Ambrose  happened  about  the  year  340 

B c,  and  whilst  the  child  lay  asleep  in  one  of  the  courts  of 

1  Qiiot.  in  Xotes  and  Queries,  x.  499. 

2  Harwood,  Grec.  Antiq.,  p.  200. 

3  Pliny,  Nat.  Hist.,  is.  18  *  Ibid. 

5  Pans.    m.<!t.  of  Greece,  B.  ix    c.  xxiii.  3. 

6  Stanley's  Hist,  of  F/ulos.,  Pt.  V.  c.  ii.  p.  157,  Lond.  1701.  Cf. 
Pliny,  Nat.  Hist.,  xi.  18. 

Vide  Pierius,  Hierogh/ph.,  p.  261-5.  Populus  regi  suo  obseques; 
Rex;  Kegnum  ;  Grata  oloquentia ;  Pocticse  aincenitas;  Futuri  seculi 
beatitude;  Dulcium  appetitus;  Diutin-ntie  valetudiiiis  i)r<)sperita8 ; 
Slerctrix  ;   Exoticre  discipliuie  ;   Prophetuvum  oracula,  etc. 


his  father's  palace,  a  swarm  of  Bees  flew  about  his  cradle, 
and  some  of  them  even  crept  in  and  out  at  his  mouth,  which 
was  open  ;  and  at  last  mounted  up  into  the  air  so  high,  that 
they  quite  vanished  out  of  sight.  This,"  concludes  the 
Reverend  Alban,  "was  esteemed  a  presage  of  future  great- 
ness and  eloquence."^ 

Another  instance  is  mentioned  in  the  Feminine  Monar- 
chic, printed  at  Oxford  in  1634,  p.  22. 

"When  Ludovicus  Vives  was  sent  by  Cardinal  Wolsey 
to  Oxford,  there  to  be  a  public  professor  of  Rhetoric,  being 
placed  in  the  College  of  Bees,  he  was  welcomed  thither  by  a 
swarm  of  Bees;  which  sweet  creatures,  to  signifie  the  incom- 
parable sweetnesse  of  his  eloquence,  settled  themselves  over 
his  head,  under  the  leads  of  his  study,  where  they  have  con- 
tinued to  this  day How  sweetly  did  all  things  then 

accord,  when  in  this  neat  !J.(>u(Tai(>v  newly  consecrated  to  the 
Muses,  the  Muses'  sweetest  favorite  was  thus  honoured  by 
the  Muses'  birds.  "^ 

Moufet,  in  his  Theater  of  Insects,  and  Topsel,  in  almost 
the  same  words  in  his  History  of  Four-footed  Beasts  and 
Serpents,  gives  the  following  list  of  remarkable  omens 
drawn  from  Bees: 

"  Whereas  the  most  high  God  did  create  all  other  crea- 
tures for  our  use;  so  especially  the  Bees,  not  only  that  as 
mistresses  they  might  hold  forth  to  us  a  patern  of  politick 
and  ceconomic  virtues,  and  inform  our  understanding ;  but 
that  they  might  be  able  as  extraordinary  foretellers,  to  fore- 
shew  the  success  and  event  of  things  to  come  ;  for  in  the 
years  90,  98,  113,  208,  before  the  birth  of  Christ,  when  as 
miglity  huge  swarms  of  Bees  did  settle  in  the  chief  market- 
place, and  in  the  beast-market  upon  private  citizens'  houses, 
and  on  the  temple  of  Mars,  there  were  at  that  time  strata- 
gems of  enemies  against  Rome,  wherewith  the  whole  state 
was  like  to  be  surprised  and  destroyed.  In  the  reign  of 
Severus,  the  Bees  njade  combes  in  his  military  ensigns,  and 
especially  in  the  camp  of  Niger.  Divers  wars  upon  this 
ensued  between  both  the  parties  of  Severus  and  Niger,  and 
battels  of  doubtful  event,  while  at  length  the  Severian  fac- 
tion prevailed.     The  statues  also  of  Antonius  Pius  placed 

1  Lives  of  the  Saints,  xii.  106. 

2  Quot.  in  N.  and  Q.,  x,  500.  This  story  is  not  in  tlie  Fern.  Jlvn- 
archie  of  1609,  printed  for  Jos.  Barnes. 

180  APID^ BEES. 

here  and  there  all  over  Hetrnria,  were  all  covered  with 
swarms  of  Bees;  and  after  that  settled  in  the  camp  of 
Cassius;  what  great  commotions  after  followed  Julius 
Capitolinus  relates  in  his  history.  At  what  time  also, 
through  the  treachery  of  the  Germans  in  Germany,  there 
was  a  mighty  slaughter  and  overthrow  of  the  Romans.  P. 
Fabius,  and  Q.  Elius  being  consuls  in  the  camp  of  Drusus 
in  the  tent  of  Hostilius  llutilus,  a  swarm  of  Bees  is  re- 
ported to  have  sate  so  thick,  that  they  covered  the  rope  and 
the  spear  that  held  up  the  tent.  M.  Lepidus,  and  Munat. 
Plancus  being  consuls,  as  also  in  the  consulship  of  L.  Paulus, 
and  C.  Metellus,  swarms  of  Bees  flying  to  Rome  (as  the 
augurs  very  well  conjectured)  did  foretell  the  near  approach 
of  the  enemy.  Pompey  likewise  making  war  against  Ca?sar, 
when  he  had  called  his  allies  together,  he  set  his  army  in 
order  as  he  went  out  of  Dyrrachium,  Bees  met  him  and  sate 
so  thick  upon  his  ensigns  that  they  could  not  be  seen  what 
they  were.  Philistus  and  ^Elian  relate,  that  while  Diony- 
sius  the  tyrant  did  in  vain  spur  his  horse  that  stuck  in  the 
mire,  and  there  at  length  left  him,  the  horse  quitting  himself 
by  his  own  strength,  did  follow  after  his  master  the  same 
way  he  went  with  a  swarm  of  Bees-  sticking  on  his  mane ; 
intimating  by  that  prodigy  that  tyrannical  government  which 
Dionysius  affected  over  the  Galeotae.  In  the  Helvetian 
History  we  read,  that  in  the  year  1385,  when  Leopoldus  of 
Austria  began  to  march  towards  Sempachum  with  his  array, 
a  swarm  of  Bees  flew  to  the  town  and  there  sate  upon  the 
tyles;  whereby  the  common  people  rightly  foretold  that 
some  forain  force  was  marching  towards  them.  So  Yirgil, 
in  7  ^neid: 

The  Bees  flew  buzzing  throvigli  the  liquid  air: 
And  laitcht  upon  the  top  o'  th'  laurel  tree  ; 

When  the  Soothsayers  saw  this  sight  full  rare, 
They  did  foretell  th'  approach  of  th'  eneniie. 

That  which  Herodotus,  Pausanias,  Dio  Cassius,  Plutarch, 
Julius  Ceesar,  Julius  Capitolinus,  and  other  historians  with 
greater  observation  then  reason  have  confirmed.  Saon 
Acrephniensis,  when  he  could  by  no  means  finde  the  oracle 
Trophonius;  Pausanias  in  his  Boeticks  saith  he  was  lead 
thither  by  a  swarm  of  Bees.  Moreover,  Plutarch,  Pausa- 
nias, yElian,  Alex.  Alexandrinus,  Theocritus  and  Textor  are 
authors  that  Jupiter  Melitasus,  Hiero  of  Syracuse,  Plato, 

APID^ — BEES.  181 

Pindar,  Apius  Coraatus,  Xenophon,  and  last  of  all  Ambrose, 
when  their  nurses  were  absent,  had  honey  dropt  into  their 
mouths  by  Bees,  and  so  were  preserved."^ 

In  East  Norfolk,  England,  if  Bees  swarm  on  rotten  wood, 
it  is  considered  portentous  of  a  death  in  the  family.^  This 
superstition  is  as  old  at  least  as  the  time  of  Gay,  for,  among 
the  signs  that  foreshadowed  the  death  of  Blonzelind,  it  is 
mentioned : 

Swarmed  on  a  rotten  stick  the  Bees  I  spy'd 
Which  erst  1  saw  when  Goody  Dobson  dy'd.3 

In  Ireland,  the  mere  swarming  of  Bees  is  looked  upon  as 
prognosticating  a  death  in  the  family  of  the  owner. 

In  parts  of  England  it  is  believed,  that  if  a  swarm  of 
Bees  come  to  a  house,  and  are  not  claimed  by  their  owner, 
there  will  be  a  death  in  the  family  that  hives  them.* 

It  is  a  very  ancient  superstition  that  Bees,  by  their  acute 
sense  of  smell,  quickly  detect  an  unchaste  woman,  and  strive 
to  make  her  infamy  known  by  stinging  her  immediately.  In 
a  pastoral  of  Theocritus,  the  shepherd  in  a  pleasant  mood 
tells  Venus  to  go  away  to  Anchises  to  be  v/ell  stung  by  Bees 
for  her  lewd  behavior. 

Now  go  thy  way  to  Ida  mount — 

Go  to  Anchises  now, 
Where  mighty  oaks,  where  banks  along 

Of  square  Cy pirns  grow, 
Where  hives  and  hollow  trunks  of  trees, 

With  honey  sweet  abound, 
Where  all  the  place  with  humming  noise 

Of  busie  Bees  resound. 

Incontinence  in  men,  as  well  as  unchastity  in  women,  was 
thought  to  be  punished  by  these  little  insects.  Thus  in  the 
lines  of  Pindarus : 

Thou  painful  Bee,  thou  pretty  creature, 

Who  honey-combs  six  angled,  as  the  be, 

W^ith  feet  doest  frame,  false  Phoecus  and  impure, 

With  sting  has  prickt  for  his  lewd  villany.^ 

1  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  21-2.     Topsel's  Ilist.   of  Beasts  and  Serpents,  p. 
645,  905. 

2  N.  and  Q.,  vi.  480. 

3  Gay's  Pastorals,  v.  107-8. 

4  Chambers'  Book  of  Days,  i.  752. 

5  Plutarch,  Nat.  Quest.,  30.     HolL  Trans.,  p.  831. 

182  APIDiE— BEES. 

Pliny  says :  "  Certain  it  is,  that  if  a  menstrnous  woman  do 
no  more  but  touch  a  Bee-hive,  all  the  Bees  will  be  gone  and 
never  more  come  to  it  again. "^ 

In  Western  Pennsylvania,  it  is  believed  that  Bees  will  in- 
variably sting  red-haired  persons  as  soon  as  they  approach 
the  hives. 

It  is  a  common  opinion  that  Bees  in  rough  and  boisterous 
weather,  and  particularly  in  a  violent  storm,  carry  a  stone 
in  their  legs,  in  order  to  preserve  themselves  by  its  weight 
against  the  power  of  the  wind.  Its  antiquity  is  also  great, 
for  in  the  writings  of  Plutarch  we  find  an  instance  of  this 
remarkable  wisdom.  "  The  Bees  of  Candi,"  says  this  philos- 
opher, "being  about  to  double  a  point  or  cape  lying  into 
the  sea,  which  is  much  exposed  to  the  winds,  they  ballase 
(ballast)  themselves  with  small  grit  or  petty  stones,  for  to 
be  able  to  endure  the  weather,  and  not  be  carried  away 
against  their  wills  with  the  winds  through  their  lightness 

Yirgil,  too,  about  a  century  earlier,  mentions  this  curious 
notion  in  the  following  lines: 

And  as  when  empty  barks  on  billows  float, 

With  sandy  ballast  sailors  trim  the  boat; 

So  Bees  bear  gravel  stones,  whose  poising  weight 

Steers  through  the  whistling  winds  their  steady  flight. ^ 

Swammerdam,  who  has  noticed  this  belief  of  the  ancients, 
makes  the  following  remarks  :  "  But  this,  as  Clutius  justly 
observes,  has  not  been  hitherto  remarked  by  any  Bee-keeper, 
nor  indeed  have  I  myself  ever  seen  it.  Yet  I  should  think 
that  there  may  be  some  truth  in  this  matter,  and  probably 
a  certain  observation,  which  I  shall  presently  mention,  has 
given  rise  to  the  story.  There  is  a  species  of  wild  Bees  not 
unlike  the  smallest  kind  of  the  Humble-Bee,  which,  as  they 
are  accustomed  to  build  their  nests  near  stone  walls,  and 
construct  their  habitations  of  stone  and  clay,  sometitues  carry 
such  large  stones  that  it  is  scarcely  credible  by  what  means 
so  tender  insects  can  sustain  so  great  a  load,  and  that  even 
flying  while  they  are  obliged  also  to  support  their  own  body. 

1  Nat.  ITiH.,  xxviii   7.     IIoll.  Trans.,  p.  308. 

2  Plutarch,  Land  and  Water  Creatures  Comjyared.   Holl.  Trans.,  p.  7- 

3  Georg.  iv.  283-7.     Dryden's  Trans. 

APID^— BEES.  183 

Their  nest  by  this  means  is  often  so  heavy  as  to  weigh  one 
or  two  pounds."^ 

It  was  the  general  opinion  of  antiquity  that  Bees  were 
produced  from  the  putrid  bodies  of  cattle.  Yarro  says  they 
are  called  ]u)oy6yat  by  the  Greeks,  because  they  arise  from 
petrified  bullocks.  In  another  place  he  mentions  their 
rising  from  these  putrid  animals,  and  quotes  the  authority 
of  Archelaus,  who  says  Bees  proceed  from  bullocks,  and 
wasps  from  horses.^  Virgil,  however,  is  much  more  satis- 
factory, for  he  gives  us  the  recipe  in  all  its  details  for  pro- 
ducing these  insects  : 

First,  in  a  place,  by  nature  close,  they  build 

A  narrow  flooring,  gutter'd,  wall'd,  and  til'd. 

In  this,  four  windows  are  contriv'd,  that  strike 

To  the  four  winds  oppos'd,  their  beams  oblique, 

A  steer  of  two  years  old  they  take,  whose  head 

Now  first  with  burnished  horns  begins  to  spread: 

They  stop  his  nostrils,  while  he  strives  in  vain 

To  breathe  free  air,  and  struggles  with  his  pain. 

Knock'd  down,  he  dies  :   his  bowels  bruis'd  within, 

Beti'ay  no  wound  on  his  unbroken  skin. 

Extended  thus,  in  his  obscene  abode, 

They  leave  the  beast;  but  first  sweet  flowers  are  strow'd 

Beneath  his  body,  broken  boughs  and  thyme, 

And  pleasing  Cassia,  just  renew'd  in  prime. 

Tills  must  be  done,  ere  spring  makes  equal  day, 

When  western  winds  on  curling  waters  play; 

Ere  painted  meads  produce  their  flowery  crops, 

Or  swallows  twitier  on  the  chimney  tops. 

The  tainted  blood,  in  this  close  prison  pent. 

Begins  to  boil,  and  thro'  the  bones  ferment. 

Then  wond'rous  to  behold,  new  creatures  rise, 

A  moving  mass  at  first,  and  short  of  thighs; 

Till  shooting  out  with  legs,  and  imp'd  with  wings, 

The  grubs  proceed  to  Bees  with  pointed  stings: 

And  more  and  more  aft'ecting  air,  they  try 

Their  tender  pinions  and  begin  to  fiy.^ 

This  absurd  notion  was  also  promulgated  by  the  great 
English  chronicler,  Hollingshed  ;  for,  says  this  author, 
**  Hornets,  waspes,  Bees,  and  such  like,  whereof  we  have 

1  Swam.  Hist,  of  Ins.,  Pt.  I.  p.  226. 

2  Martin's  Georg.  of  Virgil,  iv.  295,  note. 

3  Dryden's  Virgil,  Georg.  iv.  417-4i2.  Democritus,  said  to  have 
been  contemporary  with  Socrates  and  Hippocrates,  the  learned  Varro, 
Columella,  and  Plorentinus,  have  severally  given  this  same  receipt. 
Vide  Owen's  Geoponika^  ii.  199. 

184  APID^ — BEES. 

great  store,  and  of  which  an  opinion  is  conceived,  that  the 
first  doo  breed  of  the  corruption  of  dead  horses,  the  second 
of  pears  and  apples  corrupted,  and  the  last  of  kine  and 
oxen;  which  may  be  true,  especiallie  the  first  and  latter  in 
some  parts  of  the  beast,  and  not  their  whole  substances,  as 
also  in  the  second,  sith  we  never  have  waspes  but  when  our 
fruit  beginneth  to  wax  ripe."^ 

To  conclude  the  history  of  this  belief,  the  following  re- 
marks of  the  learned  Swammerdara  will  not  be  inappropri- 
ate. He  says:  "It  is  probable  that  the  not  rightly  under- 
standing Samson's  adventure  of  the  Lion,  gave  rise  to  the 
popular  opinion  of  Bees  springing  from  dead  Lions,  Oxen, 
and  Horses;  and  this  opinion  may  have  been  considerably 
strengthened,  and  indeed  in  a  manner  confirmed,  by  the 
great  number  of  Worms  that  are  often  found  during  the 
summer  months  in  the  carcasses  of  such  animals,  especially 
as  these  Worms  somewhat  resemble  those  produced  from 
the  eggs  of  Bees.  However  ridiculous  this  opinion  must 
appear,  many  great  men  have  not  been  ashamed  to  adopt 
and  defend  it.  The  industrious  Goedaert  has  ventured  to 
ascribe  the  origin  of  Bees  to  certain  dunghill  Worms,  and 
the  learned  de  Mei  joins  with  him  in  this  opinion ;  though 
neither  of  them  had  any  observation  to  ground  their  belief 
upon,  but  that  of  the  external  resemblance  between  the  Bee 
and  a  certain  kind  of  Fly  produced  from  these  Worms." ^ 

The  opinion  that  stolen  Bees  will  not  thrive,  but  pine  away 
and  die,  is  almost  universal.^  It  is,  too,  of  reverend  anti- 
quity, for  Pliny  mentions  it  :  "  It  is  a  common  received 
opinion,  that  Rue  will  grow  the  better  if  it  be  filched  out  of 
another  man's  garden  ;  and  it  is  as  ordinarie  a  saying  that 
stolen  Bees  will  thrive  worst."* 

In  South  Northamptonshire,  England,  there  is  a  super- 
stition that  Bees  will  not  thrive  in  a  quarrelsome  family.^ 
It  might  be  well  to  promulgate  this  and  the  next  preceding 
superstition.     This  prevails  among  us. 

In  Hampshire,  England,  it  is  a  common  saying  that  Bees 
are  idle  or  unfortunate  at  their  work  whenever  there  are 

1  Hollings.  Chron.,  i.  384. 

2  Swam.  Hist,  of  Ins.,  Pt.  I.  p.  228. 

3  N.  and  Q.,  ii.  356. 

*  Nat.  Hist.,  xix.  7.     Holl.  Trans.,  p.  23.  E. 

5  N.  and  Q.,  ii.  165.     Chamb.  Bk.  of  Days,  i.  752. 

APIDiE — BEES.  185 

wars.  A  very  curious  observer  and  fancier  says  that  this 
has  been  the  case  from  the  time  of  the  movements  in  France, 
Prussia,  and  Hungary,  up  to  the  present  time.^ 

In  Bishopsbourne,  England,  there  prevails  the  singular 
superstition  of  informing  the  Bees  of  any  great  public  event 
that  takes  place,  else  they  will  not  thrive  so  well.^ 

In  Monmouthshire,  England,  the  peasantry  entertain  so 
great  a  veneration  for  their  Bees,  that,  says  Bucke,  some 
years  since,  they  were  accustomed  to  go  to  their  hives  on 
Christmas  eve  at  twelve  o'clock,  in  order  to  listen  to  their 
humming;  which  elicited,  as  they  believed,  a  much  more 
agreeable  music  than  at  any  other  period  ;  since,  at  that 
time,  they  celebrated,  in  the  best  manner  they  could,  the 
morning  of  Christ's  nativity.^ 

Sampson,  in  his  Statistical  Survey  of  the  County  of  Lon- 
donderry, 1802,  p.  436,  says  that  there  "Bees  must  not  be 
given  away,  but  sold;  otherwise  neither  the  giver  nor  the 
taker  will  have  Zwc^."* 

A  clergyman  in  Devonshire,  England,  informs  us  that 
when  any  Devonian  makes  a  purchase  of  Bees,  the  payment 
is  never  made  in  money,  but  in  things  (corn,  for  instance) 
to  the  value  of  the  sum  agreed  upon ;  and  the  Bees  are 
never  removed  but  on  a  Grood  Friday.^  In  western  Penn- 
sylvania, it  is  thought  by  some  of  the  old  farmers  that  the 
vender  of  the  Bees  must  be  away  from  home  when  the  hive 
is  taken  away,  else  the  Bees  will  not  thrive. 

Another  superstition  is  that  if  a  swarm  of  Bees  be  met 
with  in  an  open  field  away  from  any  house,  it  is  useless  to 
hive  them,  for  they  will  never  do  a  bit  of  good. 

In  many  parts  of  England,  a  popular  opinion  is  that 
when  Bees  remove  or  go  away  from  their  hives,  the  owner 
of  them  will  die  soon  after.^ 

It  is  commonly  believed  among  us  that  if  Bees  come  to  a 
house,  it  forebodes  good  luck  and  prosperity;  and,  on  the 
contrary,  if  they  go  away,  bad  luck. 

A  North  German  custom  and  superstition  is,  that  if  the 
master  of  the  house  dies,  a  person  must  go  to  the  Beehive, 

^  N'.^Q.,  xii.  200. 

2  Mag.  of  Nat.  Hist.,  ii.  405. 

5  Bucke  on  Nature,  i.  419. 

*  Brand's  Pop.  Antiq.,  ii.  300, 

5  Ibid.  6  TUd. 


186  APTD^ — BEES. 

knock,  and  repeat  these  words:  "The  master  is  dead,  the 
master  is  dead,"  else  the  Bees  will  fly  away.^  This  super- 
stition prevails  also  in  England,  Lithuania,  and  in  France.^ 

[Some  years  since,  observes  a  correspondent  of  the  Athe- 
naeum, quoted  by  Brande,  a  gentleman  at  a  dinner  table 
happened  to  mention  that  he  was  surprised,  on  the  death  of 
a  relative,  by  his  servant  inquiring  "  whether  his  master 
would  inform  the  Bees  of  the  event,  or  whether  he  should 
do  so."  On  asking  the  meaning  of  so  strange  a  question, 
the  servant  assured  him  that  Bees  ought  always  to  be  in- 
formed of  a  death  in  a  family,  or  they  would  resent  the 
neglect  by  deserting  the  hive.  This  gentleman  resides  in 
the  Isle  of  Ely,  and  the  anecdote  was  told  in  Suffolk  ;  and 
one  of  the  party  present,  a  few  days  afterward,  took  the 
opportunity  of  testing  the  prevalence  of  this  strange  notion 
by  inquiring  of  a  cottager  who  had  lately  lost  a  relative, 
and  happened  to  complain  of  the  loss  of  her  Bees,  "  whether 
she  had  told  them  all  she  ought  to  do  V  She  immediately 
replied,  "  Oh,  yes  ;  when  my  aunt  died  I  told  every  skep 
{i.e.  hive)  myself,  and  put  them 

"Into  mourning."  I  have  since  ascertained  the  existence 
of  the  same  superstition  in  Cornwall,  Devonshire  (where  I 
have  seen  black  crape  put  round  the  hive,  or  on  a  small 
black  stick  by  its  side),  and  Yorkshire.  It  probably  ex- 
ists in  every   part   of   the  kingdom The  mode   of 

communicating  is  by  whispering  the  fact  to  each  hive  sepa- 
rately  In  Oxford  I  was  told  that  if  a  man  and  wife 

quarreled,  the  Bees  would  leave  them.]  ^ 

"In  some  parte  of  Suffolk,"  says  Bucke,  "the  peasants 
believe,  when  any  member  of  their  family  dies,  that,  unless 
the  Bees  are  put  in  mourning  by  placing  a  piece  of  black 
cloth,  cotton  or  silk,  on  the  top  of  the  hives,  the  Bees  will 
either  die  or  fly  away. 

"In  Lithuania,  when  the  master  or  mistress  dies,  one  of 
the  first  duties  performed  is  that  of  giving  notice  to  the 
Bees,  by  rattling  the  keys  of  the  house  at  the  doors  of  their 
hives.     Unless  this  be  done,  the  Lithuanians  imagine  the 

1  Thorpe's  North.  MijthoL,  iii.  161, 

2  Vide  N.  and  Q.  in  Devon,  v.  148;   Essex,  v.  437;  Lincolnshire 
iv.  270;    Surrey,  iv.  291;   a  Cornish  supersdtion,   too,  xii.  38; 

Buckinghamshire,  Sussex,  Lithuania,  and  France,  iv.  308. 
3  Brande's  Fop.  Antiq.,  ii.  300. 


APID^ — BEES.  18t 

cattle  will  die;  the  Bees  themselves  perish,  and  the  trees 

At  Bradfield,  if  Bees  are  not  invited  to  funerals,  it  is  be- 
lieved they  will  die.^ 

In  the  Livinf^  Librarie,  Englished  by  John  Molle,  1621, 
p.  2S3,  we  read:  "Who  would  beleeve  without  superstition 
(if  experience  did  not  make  it  credible ),  that  most  commonly 
all  the  Bees  die  in  their  hives,  if  the  master  or  mistress  of 
the  house  chance  to  die,  except  the  hives  be  presently  re- 
moved into  some  other  place?  And  yet  I  know  this  hath 
hapned  to  folke  no  way  stained  with  superstition  "^ 

A  similar  superstition  is,  that  Beehives  belonging  to  de- 
ceased persons  should  be  turned  over  the  moment  when  the 
corpse  is  taken  out  of  the  house.*  No  consequence  is  given 
for  the  non-performance  of  this  rite. 

The  following  item  is  clipped  from  the  Argus,  a  London 
newspaper,  printed  Sept.  13,  1790:  "A  superstitious  custom 
prevails  at  every  funeral  in  Devonshire,  of  turning  round  the 
Bee-hives  that  belonged  to  the.peceased,  if  he  had  any,  and 
that  at  the  moment  the  corpse  is  carrying  out  of  the  house. 
At  a  funeral  some  time  since,  at  Colurapton,  of  a  rich  old 
farmer,  a  laughable  circumstance  of  this  sort  occurred:  for, 
just  as  the  corpse  was  placed  in  the  hearse,  and  the  horse- 
men, to  a  large  number,  were  drawn  in  order  for  the  proces- 
sion of  the  funeral,  a  person  called  out,  'Turn  the  Bees,' 
when  a  servant  who  had  no  knowledge  of  such  a  custom, 
instead  of  turning  the  hives  about,  lifted  them  up,  and  then 
laid  them  down  on  their  sides.  The  Bees,  thus  hastily  in- 
vaded, instantly  attacked  and  fastened  on  the  horses  and 
their  riders.  It  was  in  vain  they  galloped  off,  the  Bees  as 
precipitately  followed,  and  left  their  stings  as  marks  of  in- 
dignation. A  general  confusion  took  place,  attended  with 
loss  of  hats,  wigs,  etc.,  and  the  corpse  during  the  conflict 
was  left  unattended ;  nor  was  it  till  after  a  considerable 
time  that  the  funeral  attendants  could  be  rallied,  in  order  to 
proceed  to  the  interment  of  their  deceased  friend."^ 

After  the  death  of  a  member  of  a  family,  it  has  fre- 

1  Bucke  on  Nature,  i.  413,  note. 

2  N.  and  Q.,  iv.  309. 

3  Brand's  Pop,  Antiq.,  ii.  300. 

*  Fosbr.  Encycl.  of  Antiq.,  ii.  738. 
5  Brand's  Pojp.  Antiq.,  ii.  300. 

188  APIDiE — BEES, 

quently  been  asserted  that  the  Bees  sometimes  take  their 
loss  so  much  to  heart  as  to  alight  upon  the  coffin  whenever 
it  is  exposed.  A  clergyman  told  Langstroth,  that  he  at- 
tended a  funeral,  where,  as  soon  as  the  coffin  was  brought 
from  the  house,  the  Bees  gathered  upon  it  so  as  to  excite 
much  alarm.  Some  years  after  this  occurrence,  being  en- 
gaged in  varnishing  a  table,  the  Bees  alighted  upon  it  in 
such  numbers  as  to  convince  the  reverend  gentleman  that 
love  of  varnish,  rather  than  sorrow  or  respect  for  the  dead, 
was  the  occasion  of  their  conduct  at  the  funeral.^ 

The  following  is  an  extract  from  a  Tour  through  Brit- 
tany, published  in  the  Cambrian  Quarterly  Magazine,  vol.  ii. 
p.  215  :  "If  there  are  Bees  kept  at  the  house  where  a  mar- 
riage feast  is  celebrated,  care  is  always  taken  to  dress  up 
their  hives  in  red,  which  is  done  by  placing  upon  them 
pieces  of  scarlet  cloth,  or  one  of  some  such  bright  color; 
the  Bretons  imagining  that  the  Bees  would  forsake  their 
dwellings  if  they  were  not  made  to  participate  in  the  re- 
joicings of  their  owners:  irf  like  manner  they  are  all  put 
into  mourning  when  a  death  occurs  in  a  family."^ 

In  the  Magazine  of  Natural  History  we  find  the  following 
instance  of  singing  psalms  to  Bees  to  make  them  thrive  : 
''When  in  Bedfordshire  lately,  we  were  informed  of  an  old 
man  who  sang  a  psalm  last  year  in  front  of  some  hives 
which  were  not  doing  well,  but  which,  he  said,  would  thrive 
in  consequence  of  that  ceremony.  Our  informant  could  not 
state  whether  this  was  a  local  or  individual  superstition."^ 

It  is  commonly  said  that  if  you  sing  to  your  Bees  before 
they  swarm,  it  will  prevent  their  leaving  your  premises 
when  thfy  do  swarm. 

Peter  Rotharrael,  a  western  Pennsylvanian,  had  a  singu- 
lar notion  that  no  man  could  have  at  one  time  a  hundred 
hives  of  Bees.  He  declared  he  had  often  as  many  as  ninety- 
nine,  but  could  never  add  another  to  them.*     I  have  since 

1  Langstroth  on  Honey-Bee,  p.  80. 

2  Mag.  of  Nat.  Hist.,  iii.  211,  note. 

3  Ibid.,  i.  308.     London,  1829. 

*  Peter  Rotharmel  had  three  specialties:  Bees,  Wheat,  and  Bona- 
parte. Concerning  Bees,  he  had  many  strange  notions,  but  the 
above  recorded  is  the  only  one  of  which  I  have  any  positive  in- 
formation. Concerning  wheat,  at  one  time  in  his  life  he  purchased 
an  almanac,  which  indicated,  among  other  things,  the  high  and  low 
tides,  and,  from  studying  this,  lie  got  it  into  his  head  that  the  tiuctua- 

APID^ — BEES  189 

learned  that  this  is  not  an  individual  superstition,  but  one 
that  pretty  generally  prevails. 

The  Apiarians  of  Bedfordshire,  England,  have  a  custom 
of,  as  they  call  it,  ringing  their  swarms  with  the  door-key  and 
the  frying-pan  ;  and  if  a  swarm  settles  on  another's  premises, 
it  is  irrecoverable  by  the  owner,  unless  he  can  prove  the 
ringing,  but  it  becomes  the  property  of  that  person  upon 
whose  premises  it  settles.^ 

The  practice  of  beating  pans,  and  making  a  great  noise 
to  induce  a  swarm  of  Bees  to  settle,  is,  at  least,  as  old  as 
the  time  of  Yirgil.     He  thus  mentions  it : 

But  when  thou  seest  a  swarming  cloud  arise, 

That  sweeps  aloft,  and  darkens  all  the  skies: 

The  motions  of  their  hasty  flight  attend; 

And  know  to  floods,  or  woods,  their  airy  march  they  bend. 

Then  melfoil  beat,  and  honey-suckles  pound, 

"With  these  alluring  savors  strew  the  ground, 

And  mix  with  tinkling  brass  the  cymbal's  drowning  sound. ^ 

But  concerning  this  practice,  Langstroth  says  :  "  It  is  prob- 
ably not  a  whit  more  efficacious  than  the  hideous  noises  of 
some  savage  tribes,  who,  imagining  that  the  sun,  in  an 
eclipse,  has  been  swallowed  by  an  enormous  dragon,  resort 
to  such  means  to  compel  his  snakeship  to  disgorge  their 
favorite  luminary."^ 

Dr.  Toner,  the  author  of  that  very  interesting  little  work, 
"Maternal  Instinct  or  Love,"  informs  me  that  when  a  boy 
he  witnessed  a  mode  of  alluring  a  swarm  of  Bees  to  settle, 
performed  by  a  German  man  and  his  wife,  which  struck  him 
at  the  time  as  being  remarkable,  and  which  was  as  follows  : 
Having  first  put  some  pig-manure  upon  the  hive  into  which 

tions  in  the  price  of  wheat  were  intimately  connected  with  the  rise 
and  fall  of  the  tides.  So  impressed  was  he  with  this  idea,  that  he 
ever  afterward  yearly  bought  that  particuhir  almanac,  and  prophe- 
sied from  it  to  his  neighbors  the  prpbable  value  of  their  coming 
crops  of  wheat.  On  Sunday,  he  Wuld  walk  fifteen  and  twenty 
miles  through  the  country,  to  examine  the  dift'erent  wheat-fields, 
and  to  aff'ord  him  a  topic  jjf  conversation  for  the  ensuing  week. 
But  Napoleon  was  his  principal  study  and  his  greatest  mania.  On 
him  he  would  talk  for  hours,  on  the  slightest  provocation  The 
history  of  Bonaparte  and  his  campaigns,  which  he  only  read,  was 
an  old  German  one. 

1  Mag.  of  Nat.  Hist.,  ii.  209. 

2  Geog.,  Dryden's  Trans.,  iv.  82-9. 

3  On  the  Honey-Bee,  p.  113. 


190  APID.^ BEES. 

they  wished  the  Bees  to  go,  they  ran  to  and  fro  under  the 
swarm,  singing  a  monotonous  German  hymn;  and  this  they 
continued  till  the  Bees  were  settled  and  hived. 

Another  strange  mode  of  alluring  Bees  into  a  new  hive  is 
practiced  near  Gloucester,  England,  but  only  when  all  the 
usual  ways  of  preparing  hives  fail ;  it  is  this  :  When  a  swarm 
is  to  be  hived,  instead  of  moistening  the  inside  of  the  hive 
with  honey,  or  sugar  and  water,  the  Bee-master  throws  into 
it,  inverted,  about  a  pint  of  beans,  which  he  causes  a  sow  to 
devour,  and  immediately  then,  it  is  said,  will  the  Bees  take 
to  it.^ 

Pliny,  as  follows,  incidentally  mentions  another  curious 
mode  of  preparing  the  hives  to  best  suit  the  Bees  :  "Touch- 
ing Baulme,  which  the  Greeks  call  Melittis  or  Melissophyl- 
lon  :  if  Bee-hives  be  rubbed  all  over  and  besmeared  with  the 
juice  thereof,  the  Bees  will  never  go  away;  for  there  is 
not  a  flower  whereof  they  be  more  desirous  and  faine  than 
of  it.  "2 

Borlase,  in  his  Antiquities  of  Cornwall,  p.  168,  tells  us  of 
another  strange  practice  in  the  hiving  of  Bees.  He  says : 
"The  Cornish,  to  this  day,  invoke  the  spirit  of  Browny, 
when  their  Bees  swarm ;  and  they  think  that  their  crying 
Browny,  Browny,  will  prevent  them  from  returning  into 
the  former  hive,  and  make  them  pitch  and  form  a  new 

The  Rev.  Thomas  P.  Hunt,  of  Wyoming,  Pa.,  has  devised 
an  amusing  plan,  by  which  he  says  he  can,  at  all  times,  pre- 
vent a  swarm  of  Bees  from  leaving  his  premises.  Before  his 
stocks  swarm,  he  collects  a  number  of  dead  Bees,  and,  string- 
ing them  with  a  needle  and  thread,  as  worms  are  strung  for 
catching  eels,  makes  of  them  a  ball  about  the  size  of  an  egg, 
leaving  a  few  strands  loose.  By  carrying — fastened  to  a 
pole — this  "Bee-bob^^  about  his  Apiary,  when  the  Bees  are 
swarming,  or  by  placing  it  in  some  central  position,  he  in- 
variably secures  every  swarm.* 

The  barbarous  practice  of  killing  Bees  for  their  honey, 
not  yet  entirely  abolished,  did  not  exist  in  the  time  of  Aris- 
totle, Yarro,  Columella,  and  Pliny.     The  old  cultivators 

1  X.  and  q.,  2cl  Ser.,  ix.  443. 

2  Nni.  Hist.,  xxi.  20,  Holl    Trans.,  p.  lOH. 

*  Quot.  in  Brand's  P^p.  Antiq.,  iii.  225. 

*  liDiigstrotii  on  the  I[onei/-B''c..  p.  182. 


APID^ — BEES.  191 

took  only  what  their  Bees  could  spare,  killing  no  stocks  ex- 
cept such  as  were  feeble  or  diseased.  The  following  epitaph, 
taken  from  a  German  work,  might  well  be  placed  over  every 
pit  of  these  brimstoned  insects: 

Here  Rests, 

cut  off  from  useful  labor, 

a  colony  of 



BY    ITS 



To  the  epitaph  also  may  be  appended  Thomson's  verses : 

Ah,  see,  where  robbed  and  murdered  in  that  pit. 
Lies  the  still  heaving  hive!   at  evening  snatched. 
Beneath  the  cloud  of  guilt-concealing  night, 
And  fixed  o'er  sulphur!   while,  not  dreanaing  ill, 
The  happy  people,  in  their  waxen  cells, 
Sat  tending  public  cares. 
Sudden,  the  dark,  oppressive  steam  ascends, 
And,  used  to  milder  scents,  the  tender  race, 
By  thousands,  tumble  from  their  honied  dome 
Into  a  gulf  of  blue  sulphureous  flame  I^ 

It  is  considered  very  cruel  in  Africa,  as  Campbell  ob- 
serves, to  kill  Bees  in  order  to  obtain  their  honey,  especially 
as  from  flowers  being  there  at  all  seasons,  and  most  in  winter, 
they  can  live  comfortably  all  the  year  round.  A  Hottentot, 
who  was  accustomed  to  kill  the  Bees,  was  often  reasoned 
with  by  the  humane  to  give  up  so  cruel  a  practice,  yet  he 
persisted  in  it  till  a  circumstance  occurred  which  determined 
him  to  relinquish  it.  He  had  a  water-mill  for  grinding  his 
corn,  which  went  very  slowly,  from  the  smallness  of  the 
stream  which  turned  it;  consequently  the  flour  dropped  very 
gently.  For  some  time  much  less  than  usual  came  into  the 
sack,  the  cause  of  which  he  could  not  discover.  At  length 
he  found  that  a  great  part  of  his  flour,  as  it  was  ground,  was 
carried  off  by  the  Bees  to  their  hives  :  on  examining  this,  he 

^  Quot.  by  Langstroth  on  the  Honey-Bee,  p.  281. 

192  APID^ — BEES. 

found  it  contained  only  his  flonr,  and  no  honey.  This  rob- 
bery made  him  resolve  to  destroy  no  more  Bees  when  their 
honey  was  taken,  considering  their  conduct  in  robbing  him 
of  his  property  as  a  just  punishment  to  him  for  his  cruelty. 
The  gentleman  who  related  this  story,  Mr.  Campbell  says, 
was  a  witness  to  the  Bees  robbing  the  mill.^ 

An  old  English  proverb,  relative  to  the  swarming  of 
Bees,  is, — 

A  swarm  of  Bees  in  May, 

Is  worth  a  load  of  hay; 

A  swarm  of  Bees  in  June, 

Is  worth  a  silver  spoon; 

A  swarm  of  Bees  in  July, 

Is  not  worth  a  fly.^ 

In  Tusser's  Five  Hundred  Points  of  Husbandry,  under 
the  month  of  May,  are  these  lines : 

Take  heed  to  thy  Bees,  that  are  ready  to  swarme, 
The  losse  thereof  now  is  a  crown's  worth  of  harme. 

On  which  is  the  following  observation  in  Tusser  Redivi- 
vus,  1744,  p.  62  :  "  The  tinkling  after  them  with  a  warming- 
pan,  frying-pan,  kettle,  is  of  good  use  to  let  the  neighbors 
know  you  have  a  swarm  in  the  air,  which  you  claim  wherever 
it  lights;  but  I  believe  of  very  little  purpose  to  the  reclaim- 
ing of  the  Bees,  who  are  thought  to  delight  in  no  noise  but 
their  own." 

Ill  fortune  attends  the  killing  of  Bees, — a  common  say- 
ing. Tliis,  doubtless,  arose  from  the  thrift  and  usefulness 
of  these  insects. 

That  swarms  of  Bees,  or  fields,  houses,  stalls  of  cattle,  or 
workshops,  may  not  be  affected  by  enchantment,  Leontinus 
says:  "Dig  in  the  hoof  of  the  right  side  of  a  sable  ass  un- 
der the  threshold  of  the  door,  and  pour  on  some  liquid 
pitchy  resin,  salt,  Heracleotic  origanum,  cardamonium, 
cumin,  some  fine  bread,  squills,  a  chaplet  of  white  or  of 
crimson  wool,  the  chaste  tree,  vervain,  sulphur,  pitchy 
torches;  and  lay  on  some  amaranthus  every  month,  and  lay 
on  the  mould  ;  and,  having  scattered  seeds  of  different  kinds, 
let  them  remain."^ - 

1  Campbell's  Travels  in  S.  Africa,  p.  339. 

2  Percy  Soc.  Public,  iv.  99. 

3  Owen's  Geoponika,  ii.  109-10. 


APID^E — BEES.  193 

To  cure  the  stings  of  Bees,  we  have  the  following  remedies  : 
"Rue,"  says  Pliny,  "is  an  hearbe  as  medicinable  as  the  best 
.  .  .  and  is  available  against  the  stings  of  Bees,  Hornets, 
and  Wasps,  and  against  the  poison  of  the  Cantharides  and 

"Yea,  and  it  is  an  excellent  thing  for  them  that  be  stung, 
to  take  the  very  Bees  in  drinke ;  for  it  is  an  approved 

"Baulme  is  a  most  present  remedy  not  only  against  their 
stings,  but  also  of  Wespes,  Spiders,  and  Scorpions.-^ 

"The  Laurell,  both  leafe,  barke,  and  berrie,  is  by  nature 
hot;  and  applied  as  a  liniment,  be  singular  good  for  the 
pricke  or  sting  of  Wasps,  Hornets,  and  Bees.* 

"  For  the  sting  of  Bees,  Wasps,  and  Hornets,  the  Howlat 
(owlet)  is  counted  a  soveraigne  thing,  by  a  certaine  antipa- 
thic in  nature.^ 

"  Moreover,  as  many  as  have  about  them  the  bill  of  a 
Woodspeck  (Woodpecker)  when  they  come  to  take  honey 
out  of  the  hive,  shall  not  be  stung  by  Bees."^ 

It  is  said  that  if  a  man  suffers  himself  to  be  stung  by  Bees, 
he  will  find  that  the  poison  will  produce  less  and  less  effect 
upon  his  system,  till,  finally,  like  Mithridates  of  old,  he  will 
appear  to  almost  thrive  upon  poison  itself.  When  Lang- 
stroth  first  became  interested  in  Bees,  according  to  his  state- 
ment, a  sting  was  quite  a  formidable  thing,  the  pain  being 
often  intense,  and  the  wound  swelling  so  as  sometimes  to 
obstruct  his  sight.  But,  at  length,  however,  the  pain  was 
usually  slight,  and,  if  the  sting  was  quickly  extracted,  no 
unpleasant  consequences  ensued,  even  if  no  remedies  were 
used.  Huish  speaks  of  seeing  the  bald  head  of  Bonner,  a 
celebrated  practical  Apiarian,  covered  with  stings,  which 
seemed  to  produce  upon  him  no  unpleasant  effects.  The 
Rev.  Mr.  Kleine  advises  beginners  to  suffer  themselves  to  be 
stung  frequently,  assuring  them  that,  in  two  seasons,  their 
systems  will  become  accustomed  to  the  poison.  An  old 
English  Apiarian  advises  a  person  who  has  been  stung,  to 

1  Kat.  Hist.,  XX.  13.     HolL,  p.  5fi.  M. 

2  Jbid.,  Holl.,  p.  95.  A. 

3  Ibid.,  xxi.  20.    HolL,  p.  106.  K. 

4  Ihid.,  xxiii.  18.    Holl.,  p.  173.  A. 

5  Ibid.,  xxix.  4.    HolL,  p.  361.  D. 
e  Ibid.,  XXX.  16.    HolL,  p.  399.  F. 

194  APID^ — BEES. 

catch  as  speedily  as  possible  another  Bee,  and  make  it  sting 
on  the  same  spot.- 

It  is  generally  believed  among  our  boys  that  if  the  part 
stung  by  a  Bee  be  rubbed  with  the  leaves  of  three  different 
plants  at  the  same  time,  the  pain  will  be  relieved. 

Willsford,  in  his  Nature's  Secrets,  p.  134,  says:  "Bees, 
in  fair  weather,  not  wandering  far  from  their  hives,  presage 
the  approach  of  some  stormy  weather.  .  .  .  Wasps,  Hornets, 
and  Gnats,  biting  more  eagerly  than  they  used  to  do,  is  a 
sign  of  rainy  weather.'" 

The  prognostication  drawn  from  a  flight  of  Bees,  in  which 
there  is  doubtless  much  truth,  appears  from  the  following 
lines  to  have  been  known  to  Virgil : 

Nor  dare  they  stay, 
When  rain  is  promised,  or  a  stormy  day  : 
But  near  the  city  walls  their  watering  take. 
Nor  forage  far,  but  short  excursions  make.^ 

Bees  were  employed  as  the  symbol  of  Epeses;  they  are 
common  also  on  coins  of  Elyrus,  Julis,  and  Prassus.'^ 

One  of  the  most  remarkable  facts  in  the  history  of  Bees 
is  that  passage  in  the  Bible^  about  the  swarm  of  these  in- 
sects and  honey  in  the  carcass  of  the  lion  slain  by  Samson* 
Some  look  upon  it  as  a  paradox,  others  as  altogether  in- 
credible ;  but  it  admits  of  easy  explanation.  The  lion  had 
been  dead  some  little  time  before  the  Bees  had  taken  up 
their  abode  in  the  carcass,  for  it  is  expressly  stated  that 
"after  a  time,"  Samson  returned  and  saw  the  Bees  and 
honey  in  the  carcass,  so  that  "if,"  as  Oedman  has  well  ob- 
served, "any  one  here  represents  to  himself  a  corrupt  and 
putrid  carcass,  the  occurrence  ceases  to  have  any  true  simili- 
tude, for  it  is  well  known  in  these  countries,  at  certain  sea- 
sons of  the  year,  the  heat  will  in  twenty-four  hours  so  com- 
pletely dry  up  the  moistnre  of  dead  animals,  and  that  with- 
out their  undergoing  decomposition,  that  their  bodies  long 
remain,  like  mummies,  unaltered,  and  entirely  free  from 
offensive  odor."  To  the  foregoing  quotation  we  may  add 
that  very  probably  the  larvae  of  flies,  ants,  and  other  insects, 

1  Langstroth  on  the  IIoney-Bee,  p.  316,  note. 

2  Brand's  Pop.  An  tig.,  iii.  225. 

^  Georg.,  iv.  280-4;   Dry  den's  Trans. 
*  Fosb.  Encycl.  of  Antiq.,  ii.  738. 
5  Judg.  xiv.  8. 

APID.^ — BEES.  195 

which  at  the  time  when  Bees  swarm,  are  to  be  found  in 
great  numbers,  would  help  to  consume  the  carcass,  and 
leave  perhaps  in  a  short  time  little  else  than  a  skeleton.^ 
*  An  instance  of  Bees  tenanting  a  dead  body  is  found  in 
the  following  passage  from  the  writings  of  Herodotus: 
"  Now  the  Amathusians,  having  cut  off  the  head  of  Onesilus, 
because  he  had  besieged  them,  took  it  to  Amatheus,  and 
suspended  it  over  the  gates  ;  and  when  the  head  was  sus- 
pended, and  had  become  hollow,  a  swarm  of  Bees  entered 
it,  and  filled  it  with  honey-comb.  When  this  happened,  the 
Amathusians  consulted  the  oracle  respecting  it,  and  an 
answer  was  given  them,  'that  they  should  take  down  the 
head  and  bury  it,  and  sacrifice  annually  to  Onesilus,  as  to  a 
hero ;  and  if  they  did  so,  it  would  turn  out  better  for  them.' 
The  Amathusians  did  accordingly,  and  continued  to  do  so 
until  my  time.'" 

Another  singular  instance  is  mentioned  by  Napier  in  his 
Excursions  on  the  shores  of  the  Mediterranean  :  ''Among 
this  pretty  collection  of  natural  curiosities  (in  the  cemetery 
of  Algesiras),  one  in  particular  attracted  our  attention ; 
this  was  the  contents  of  a  small  uncovered  coffin  in  which 
lay  a  child,  the  cavity  of  the  chest  exposed  and  tenanted  by 
an  industrious  colony  of  Bees.  The  comb  was  rapidly  pro- 
gressing, and  I  suppose,  according  to  the  adage  of  the  poet, 
they  were  adding  sweets  to  the  sweet,  if  not  perfume  to  the 

Butler,  in  his  Feminine  Monarchic,  narrates  the  following 
curious  story  :  "Pauhis  Jomus,  affirmeth  that  in  Muscoma, 
there  are  found  in  the  woods  &  wildernesses  great  lakes  of 
honey,  which  the  Bees  have  forsaken,  in  the  hollow  truncks 
of  marvelous  huge  trees.  In  so  much  that  houy  &  wa'xe 
are  the  most  certaine  commodities  of  that  countrie.  Where, 
by  that  occasion,  he  setteth  down  the  storie  reported  by 
Demetrius  a  Muscovite  ambassador  sent  to  Rome.  A 
neighbor  of  mine  (saith  he)  searching  in  the  woods  for  hony 
slipt  downe  into  a  great  hollow  tree,  and  there  sunk  into  a 
lake  of  hony  vp  to  his  brest :  where  when  he  had  stucke 
faste  two  dales  calling  and  crying  out  in  vaine  for  helpe,  be- 

1  Cf.  Swammerdam,  Hist,  of  Ins.,  Pt.  I.  p.  227,  and  Smith's  Diet, 
of  the  Bible. 

2  Herod.,  v.  114-5. 

3  Excursions,  i.  127. 

196  APID.^ — BEES. 

cause  no  bodie  in  the  raeane  while  came  nigh  that  solitarie 
place  ;  at  length  when  he  was  out  of  all  hope  of  life,  hee 
was  strangely  delivered  by  the  means  of  a  great  beare  : 
which  coming  thither  about  the  same  businesse  that  he  di^, 
and  smelling  the  hony  stirred  with  his  striving,  clambered 
vp  to  the  top  of  the  tree,  &  thence  began  to  let  hiraselfe 
downe  backward  into  it.  The  man  bethinking  himself,  and 
knowing  the  worst  was  but  death,  which  in  that  place  he 
was  sure  of,  beclipt  the  beare  fast  with  both  his  hands  aboit 
the  loines,  and  withall  made  an  outcry  as  lowd  as  he  could. 
The  beare  being  thus  sodainely  affrighted,  what  with  the 
handling,  &  what  with  the  noise,  made  vp  againe  withal 
speed  possible :  the  man  held,  &  the  beare  pulled,  vntil  with 
main  force  he  had  drawne  Dun  out  of  the  mire:  &  then 
being  let  go,  away  he  trots  more  afeard  than  hurt,  leaving 
the  smeered  swaine  in  a  joyful  feare."^ 

By  the  Chinese  writers,  the  composition  of  the  characters 
for  the  Bee,  Ant,  and  Mosquito,  respectively,  denote  the 
awl  insect,  the  righteous  insect,  and  the  lettered  insect; 
referring  thereby  to  the  sting  of  the  first,  the  orderly  march- 
ing and  subordination  of  the  second,  and  the  letter-like 
markings  on  the  wings  of  the  last,^ 

In  May,  1653,  the  remains  of  Childeric,  King  of  the 
Franks,  who  died  a.d.  481,  and  was  buried  at  Tournay, 
were  discovered;  and  among  the  medals,  coins,  and  books, 
which  were  found  in  his  tomb,  were  also  found  above  three 
hundred  figures  of,  as  Chiflet  says.  Bees,  all  of  gold.  Some 
of  these  figures  were  toads,  crescents,  lilies,  spear-heads,  and 
such  like,  but  Chiflet,  after  much  labor  and  research,  was 
fully  convinced  they  were  Bees;  and,  more  than  that,  de- 
termines them  to  be  the  source  whence  the  Fleur  de  lis  in 
the  Arms  of  France  were  afterward  derived.  Montfaucon, 
however,  did  not  hesitate  to  say  they  were  nothing  more 
than  ornaments  of  the  horse-furniture.^ 

Napoleon  I.  and  II.  are  said  to  have  had  their  imperial 
robes  embroidered  with  golden  Bees,  as  claiming  official 
descent  from  Carolus  Magnus,  who  is  said  to  have  worn 
them  on  his  coat  of  arms.* 

1  Fern.  Monarchie,  c.  vi.  49. 

2  Williams'  Chinese  Empire,  i.  275. 

3  Chiflet,  164-181  ;   Montf.  Monarch.  Franc,  i.  12;   Gough's  Sepul. 
Mon.,  vol.  i.  p.  Ixii. 

♦  Cf.  N.  ^  Q.,  vii.  478,  553;  viii.  30. 


APID.^ — BEES.  197 

On  a  Continental  forty-five  dollar  bill,  issued  on  the  14th 
of  January,  1779,  is  represented  an  Apiary  in  which  two 
Beehives  are  visible,  and  Bees  are  seen  swarming  about. 
The  motto  is  "  Sic  floret  Respublica — Thus  flourishes  the 
Republic."  It  conveys  the  simple  lesson  that  by  industry 
and  frugality  the  Republic  would  prosper.^ 

Bees  in  the  heroic  ages  it  appears  were  not  confined  in 
hives ;  for,  whenever  Homer  describes  them,  it  is  either 
where  they  are  streaming  forth  from  a  rock,^  or  settling  in 
bands  and  clusters  on  the  spring  flowers.  Hesiod,  however, 
soon  after  makes  mention  of  a  hive  where  he  is  uncourte- 
ously  comparing  women  to  droi^es  : 

As  when  within  their  well-roofd  hives  the  Bees 
Maintain  the  mischief-working  drones  at  ease, 
Their  task  pursuing  till  the  golden  sun 
Down  to  the  western  wave  his  course  hath  run, 
Filling  their  shining  combs,  while  snug  within 
Their  fragrant  cells,  the  drones,  with  idle  din 
As  princes  revel  o'er  their  unpaid  bowls. 
On  others'  labors  cheer  their  worthless  souls. ^ 

It  may  be  surprising  to  many  to  know  that  Bees  were  not 
originally  natives  of  this  country.  But  such  is  the  case; 
the  first  planters  never  saw  any.  The  English  first  intro- 
duced them  into  Boston,  and  in  1670,  they  were  carried  over 
the  Alleghany  Mountains  by  a  hurricane.*  Since  that  time, 
it  has  been  remarked  they  betray  an  invariable  tendency  for 
migrating  southward.^ 

Bees  for  a  long  time  were  known  to  our  Indians  by  the 
name  of  "English  Flies;'"'  and  they  consider  them,  says 
Irving,  as  the  harbinger  of  the  white  man,  as  the  buffalo  is 
of  the  red  man,  and  say  that  in  proportion  as  the  Bee  ad- 
vances, the  Indian  and  the  bufl'alo  retire.^ 

Longfellow,  in  his  Song  of  Hiawatha,  in  describing  the 
advent  of  the  European  to  the  New  World,  makes  his 
Indian  warrior  say  of  the  Bee  and  the  white  clover : 

1  Harper's  New  Monthly  Mag.,  xxvi.  441. 

2  11.  Q.  87  ;  ^.  67  ;    Odyss  ,  v.  106. 

3  Hesiod,  Theog.,  594,  seq. 
*  Bucke  on  Nature,  ii.  75. 

5  Cf.  Kalm,  ii.  427  ;   Schneider,  Observ.  sur  UUoa,  ii.  198. 

6  Ihid. 

'  Tour  in  the  Prairies,  eh.  ix. 


198  APID^ — BEES. 

"Wheresoever  they  move,  before  them 
Swarms  the  stinging  fly,  the  Ahmo, 
Swarms  the  Bee,  the  honey-maker; 
Wheresoe'er  they  tread,  beneath  them 
Springs  a  flower  unknown  among  us. 
Springs  the  White  Man's  Foot  in  blossom. 

Many  Apiarians  contend  that  newly-settled  countries  are 

most  favorable  to  the  Bee ;  and  an  old  German  adage  runs 

Bells'  ding  dong,  But  hoot  of  owl, 

And  choral  song,  And  "wolfs  long  howl" 

Deter  the  bee  Incite  to  moil 

From  industry:        «  And  steady  toil.^ 

Hector  St.  John,  in  his  Letters,  gives  the  following  curi- 
ous account  of  the  method  which  he  employed  in  discovering 
Bees  in  our  woods  in  early  times  :  Provided  with  a  blanket, 
some  provisions,  wax,  vermilion,  honey,  and  a  small  pocket 
compass,  he  proceeded  to  such  woods  as  were  at  a  consider- 
able distance  from  the  settlements.  Then  examining  if  they 
abounded  with  large  trees,  he  kindled  a  small  fire  on  some 
flat  stones,  close  by  which  putting  some  wax,  and,  on  another 
stone  near  by,  dropping  distinct  drops  of  honey,  which  he 
encircled  with  the  vermilion.  He  then  retired  to  carefully 
watch  if  any  Bees  appeared.  The  smell  of  the  burnt  wax, 
if  there  were  any  Bees  in  the  neighborhood,  would  unavoid- 
ably attract  them ;  and,  finding  the  honey,  would  necessarily 
become  tinged  with  the  vermilion,  in  attempting  to  get  at 
it.  Next,  fixing  his  compass,  he  found  out  the  direction  of 
the  hives  by  the  flight  of  the  loaded  Bees,  which  is  invariably 
straight  when  they  tire  returning  home.  Then  timing  with 
his  watch  the  absence  of  the  Bee  till  it  would  come  back  for 
a  second  load,  and  recognizing  it  by  the  vermilion,  he  could 
generally  guess  pretty  closely  to  the  distance  traversed  by  it 
in  the  given  time.  Knowing  then  the  direction  and  the 
probable  distance,  he  seldom  failed  in  going  directly  to  the 
right  tree.  In  this  way  he  sometimes  found  as  many  as 
eleven  swarms  in  one  season. ^ 

The  shepherds  of  the  Alps,  as  we  learn  from  Sausure  quoted 
in  the  Insect  Miscellanies,  as  soon  as  the  snows  are  melted 
on  the  sides  of  the  mountains,  transfer  their  flocks  from  the 

1  Langstroth  on  the  Honey-Bee,  p.  236. 
'  Letters. 


APID^ — BEES.  199 

valleys  below  to  the  fresh  pasture  revived  by  the  summer 
sun,  in  the  natural  parterres  and  patches  of  meadow-land 
formed  at  the  foot  of  crumbling  rocks,  and  sheltered  by  them 
from  mountain  storms;  and  so  difficult  sometimes  is  this 
transfer  to  be  accomplished,  that  the  sheep  have  to  be  slung 
by  means  of  ropes  from  one  cliff  to  another  before  they  can 
be  stationed  on  the  little  grass-plot  above. ^  A  similar 
artificial  migration  (if  we  may  use  the  term),  continues  the 
author  of  the  Miscellanies,  is  effected  in  some  countries  by 
the  proprietors  of  Beehives,  who  remove  them  from  one 
district  to  another,  that  they  may  find  abundance  of  flowers, 
and  by  this  means  prolong  the  summer.  Sometimes  this 
transfer  is  performed  by  persons  forming  an  ambulatory  es- 
tablishment, like  that  of  a  gipsy  horde,  and  encamping 
wherever  flowers  are  found  plentiful.  Bee-caravans  of  this 
kind  are  reported  to  be  not  uncommon  in  some  districts  of 
Germany  ;^  and  in  parts  of  Greece,^  Italy,  and  France,*  the 
transportation  of  Bees  was  practiced  from  very  early  times. 
But  a  more  singular  practice  in  such  transportation  was  to 
set  the  Beehives  afloat  in  a  canal  or  river,  and  we  are  in- 
formed that,  in  France,  one  Bee-barge  was  built  of  capacity 
enough  for  from  sixty  to  one  hundred  hives,  and  by  floating 
gently  down  the  river,  the  Bees  had  an  opportunity  of 
gathering  honey  from  the  flowers  along  the  banks. ^ 

An  instance  of  Bees  being  kept  in  this  singular  manner  is 
found  in  the  following  quotation  from  the  London  Times, 
1830:  "As  a  small  vessel  was  proceeding  up  the  Channel 
from  the  coast  of  Cornwall,  and  running  near  the  land,  some 
of  the  sailors  observed  a  swarm  of  Bees  on  an  island ;  they 
steered  for  it,  landed,  and  took  the  Bees  on  board ;  succeeded 
in  hiving  them  immediately,  and  proceeded  on  their  voyage ; 

1  Voyages  dans  les  Alpes.      Ins.  3fisc.,  p.  262. 

2  Brookes  mentions  the  Duchy  of  Juliers,  a  district  of  Westphalia, 
Germany. — Nat.  Hist,  of  Ins.,  p.  160. 

3  Columella  says  the  Greeks  were  accustomed,  every  year,  to  re- 
move the  hives  from  Achaia  into  Attica. — Ibid. 

*  One  person  in  particular,  in  the  territory  called  Gatonois,  has 
been  at  the  pains  of  removing  his  hives,  after  the  harvest  of  Sain- 
foin, into  the  plains  of  Beauce,  where  the  melilot  abounds,  and 
thence  into  Sologne,  where  it  is  well  known  the  Bees  may  enjoy 
the  advantage  of  buckwheat,  till  toward  the  end  of  September,  for 
so  long  that  plant  retains  its  flowers. — Ibid. 

^  Ins.  Misc.,  p.  262. 

200  APID.^ — BEES. 

as  they  sailed  along  shore,  the  Bees  constantly  flew  from  the 
vessel  to  the  land,  to  collect  honey,  and  returned  again  to 
their  moving  hive;  and  this  was  continued  all  the  way  up 
the  Channel."^ 

In  Lower  Egypt,  observes  M.  Maillet  in  his  Description 
of  Egypt,  where  the  blossoming  of  flowers  is  about  six  weeks 
later  than  in  the  upper  districts,  the  practice  of  transporting 
Beehives  is  much  followed.  The  hives  are  collected  from  dif- 
ferent villages  along  the  banks,  each  being  marked  and  num- 
bered by  individual  proprietors,  to  prevent  future  mistakes. 
They  are  then  arranged  in  pyramidal  piles  upon  the  boats 
prepared  to  receive  them,  which,  floating  gradually  down  the 
river,  and  stopping  at  certain  stages  of  their  passage,  re- 
main there  a  longer  or  a  shorter  time,  according  to  the  pro- 
duce afforded  by  the  surrounding  country  within  two  or 
three  leagues.  In  this  manner  the  Bee-boats  sail  for  three 
months;  the  Bees,  having  culled  the  honey  of  the  orange- 
flowers  in  the  Said,  and  of  the  Arabian  jasmine  and  other 
flowers  in  the  more  northern  parts,  are  brought  back  to  the 
places  whence  they  had  been  carried.  This  procures  for 
the  Egyptians  delicious  honey  and  abundance  of  wax.  The 
proprietors  in  return  pay  the  boatmen  a  recompense  propor- 
tioned to  the  number  of  hives  which  have  been  thus  carried 
about  from  one  extremity  of  Egypt  to  the  other.^  The 
celebrated  traveler  Niebuhr  saw  upon  the  Nile,  between 
Cairo  and  Damietta,  a  convoy  of  4000  hives  in  their  transit 
from  Upper  Egypt  to  the  coast  of  the  Delta.^ 

In  the  Bienenzeitung  for  1854,  p.  83,  appears  the  follow- 
ing statements:  "Mr.  Kaden,  of  Mayence,  thinks  that  the 
range  of  the  Bee's  flight  does  not  usually  extend  more  than 
three  miles  in  all  directions.  Several  years  ago,  a  vessel, 
laden  with  sugar,  anchored  off  Mayence,  and  was  soon 
visited  by  the  Bees  of  the  neighborhood,  which  continued  to 
pass  to  and  from  the  vessel  from  dawn  to  dark.  One  morn- 
ing, when  the  Bees  v/ere  in  full  flight,  the  vessel  sailed  up 
the  river.  For  a  short  time,  the  Bees  continued  to  fly  as 
numerously  as  before  ;  but  gradually  the  number  diminished, 
and,  in  course  of  half  an  hour,  all  had  ceased  to  follow  the 
vessel,  which  had,  meanwhile,  sailed  more  than  four  miles."* 

1  Mag.  of  Nat.  Hist.,  iii    652. 

2  Wooers  Zooff.,  ii.  429. 

3  Ins.  Misc.,  p.  2G3. 
*  Quel,  by  Laugstrotli — On  Ho7iey-Bee,  p.  305,  note. 

APID^ — BEES.  201 

Aristomacbus  of  Soli,  says  Pliny,  made  Bees  his  exclu- 
sive study  for  a  period  of  fifty-eight  years;  and  Philiocns, 
the  Thraeian,  surnamed  Agrius — "Wildraan" — passed  his 
life  in  desert  spots  tending  swarms  of  Bees.^ 

Schomburgk  says  he  saw,  in  his  journey  to  the  sources 
of  the  Takutu,  an  Indian,  who  was  the  conjuror  or  piaiman 
of  his  tribe,  merely  approach  a  nest  of  the  wild  Warn  pang- 
bees  {Wampisiana camniba),  and  knocking  with  his  fingers 
against  it,  drive  out  all  the  Bees  without  a  single  one  injuring 
him.  The  piaiman,  Schomburgk  remarks,  drew  his  fingers 
under  the  pits  of  his  arms  before  he  knocked  against  the  hive.^ 

Brue,  in  his  first  voyage  to  Siratic,  in  Africa,  met  with 
what  he  called  a  "phenomenon"  in  a  person  entitling  him- 
self the  "King  of  the  Bees."  His  majesty  accordingly  came  to 
the  boat  of  the  traveler  entirely  covered  with  these  insects, 
and  followed  by  thousands,  over  which  he  appeared  to  ex- 
ercise the  most  absolute  authority.  These  Bees  were  never 
known  to  injure  either  himself  or  those  whom  he  took  under 
his  protection.^ 

Mr.  Wildman,  the  most  celebrated  Bee-tamer,  frequently 
asserted  that  armed  with  his  friendly  Bees  he  was  defensible 
against  the  fiercest  mastiffs ;  and,  it  is  said,  he  actually  did, 
at  Salisbury,  encounter  three  yard-dogs  one  after  the  other. 
The  conditions  of  the  engagement  were,  that  he  should  have 
notice  of  the  dog  being  set  at  him.  Accordingly  the  first 
mastiff  was  set  loose ;  and  as  he  approached  the  man,  two 
Bees  were  detached,  which  immediately  stung  him,  the  one 
on  the  nose,  the  other  on  the  flank;  upon  receiving  the 
wounds,  the  dog  retired  very  much  daunted.  After  this,  the 
second  dog  entered  the  lists,  and  was  foiled  with  the  same 
expedition  as  the  first.  The  third  dog  was  at  last  brought 
against  the  champion,  but  the  animal  observing  the  ill  success 
of  his  brethren,  would  not  attempt  to  sustain  a  combat;  so, 
in  a  cowardly  manner,  he  retired  with  his  tail  between  his 

Many  other  remarkable  anecdotes  are  told  of  this  gentle- 
man, illustrating  his  wonderful  control  over  Bees.  He  could 
also,  indeed,  tame  wasps  and  hornets,  with  almost  the  same 
ease  as  he  could  Bees,  and  an  instance  is  mentioned  of  his 

^  Nat.  Hist.,  X.  9. 

2  Journ.  of  Geog.  Soc,  1843,  xiii.  40. 

«  Murray's  Africa,  i.  108. 


202  APID.E — BEES. 

hiving  a  nest  of  hornets  which  hung  at  the  top  of  the  inside 
of  a  high  barn.  He,  however,  was  stung  twice  in  this  under- 

Mr.  Wildman  frequently  exhibited  himself  with  his  head 
and  face  almost  covered  with  Bees,  and  with  such  a  swarm 
of  them  hanging  down  from  his  chin  as  to  resemble  a  vener- 
able beard.  In  this  extraordinary  dress  he  was  once  brought 
through  the  City  of  London  sitting  in  a  chair.  Before  Earl 
Spencer,  Mr.  Wildman  also  made  many  wonderful  perform- 

Says  Dr.  Evans : 

Such  was  the  spell,  which  round  a  Wildman's  ai-ni 
Twined  in  dark  wreatlis  the  fascinated  swarm, 
Bright  o'er  his  breast  the  glittering  legions  led, 
Or  with  a  living  garland  bound  his  head. 
His  dexterous  hand,  with  firm  but  hurtless  hold, 
Could  seize  the  chief,  known  by  her  scales  of  gold, 
Prune,  'mid  the  wondering  throng,  her  filmy  wing, 
Or  o'er  her  folds  the  silken  fetter  fling.^ 

"Long  experience  has  taught  me,"  says  Mr.  Wildman 
himself,  "that  as  soon  as  I  turn  up  a  hive,  and  give  some 
taps  on  the  sides  and  bottom,  the  queen  immediately  appears. 
Being  accustomed  to  see  her,  I  readily  perceive  her  at  the 
first  glance;  and  long  practice  has  enabled  me  to  seize  her 
instantly,  with  a  tenderness  that  does  not  in  the  least  endan- 
ger her  person.  Being  possessed  of  her,  I  can,  without 
exciting  any  resentment,  slip  her  into  my  other  hand,  and 
returning  the  hive  to  its  place,  hold  her,  till  the  Bees,  missing 
her,  are  all  on  the  wing  and  in  the  utmost  confusion."  It 
was  then,  by  placing  the  queen  in  view,  he  could  make  them 
light  wherever  he  pleased,  from  their  great  attachment  to 
her,  and  sometimes  using  a  word  of  command  to  mystify  the 
spectators,  he  would  cause  them  to  settle  on  his  head,  and  to 
hang  to  his  chin  like  a  beard,  from  which  he  would  order 
them  to  his  hand,  or  to  an  adjacent  window.  But,  however 
easy  such  feats  may  appear  in  theory,  Mr.  Wildman  cautious 
(probably  with  a  view  to  deter  rivals)  those  who  are  inex- 
perienced not  to  put  themselves  in  danger  of  attempting  to 
imitate  him.  A  liberated  Roman  slave,  C.  F.  Cnesinus, 
being  accused  before  the  tribunals  of  witchcraft,  because  his 

1  Scot's  Mag.,  Nov.  1766.     Chamb.  Journ  ,  1st  S.  xi.  184. 

2  The  Bees. 

APID^ — BEES.  203 

crops  were  more  abundant  than  those  of  his  neighbors, 
produced  as  his  witnesses  some  superior  implements  of 
husbandry,  and  well  fed  oxen,  and  pointing  to  them  said : 
"These,  Romans!  are  my  instruments  of  witchcraft;  but  I 
cannot  show  you  my  toil,  my  perseverance,  and  my  anxious 
cares."  "So,"  says  Wildman,  "may  I  say.  These,  Britons  1 
are  my  instruments  of  witchcraft;  but  I  cannot  show  you 
my  hours  of  attention  to  this  subject,  my  anxiety  and  care 
for  these  useful  insects;  nor  can  I  communicate  to  you  my 
experience  acquired  during  a  course  of  years. "^ 

Butler  mentions  two  instances  where  the  stings  of  Bees 
have  been  fatal  to  "cattaile": 

"A  horse,"  he  informs  us,  "in  the  heate  of  the  day  look- 
ing over  a  hedge,  on  the  other  side  whereof  was  a  staule  of 
Bees,  while  hee  stood  nodding  with  his  head,  as  his  manner 
is,  because  of  the  flies,  the  Bees  fell  vpon  him  and  killed 
him.  Likewise  I  heard  of  a  teeme  that  stretching  against 
a  hedge  overthrew  a  staule  on  the  other  side,  and  so  two  of 
the  horses  were  stung  to  death. "^ 

Mungo  Park  and  his  party  were  twice  seriously  attacked 
by  large  swarms  of  Bees.  The  first  attack  is  mentioned  in 
the  account  of  his  first  journey;  the  second  in  the  account 
of  his  second.  The  latter  singular  accident  befell  them  in 
1805,  and  is  thus  narrated  in  his  journal :  The  cofile  had 
halted  at  a  creek,  and  the  .asses  had  just  been  unloaded, 
when  some  of  his  guide  Isaaca's  people,  being  in  search  of 
honey,  unfortunately  disturbed  a  large  swarm  of  Bees  near 
their  resting-place.  The  Bees  came  out  in  immense  num- 
bers, and  attacked  men  and  beasts  at  the  same  time.  Luck- 
ily, most  of  the  asses  were  loose,  and  galloped  up  the  val- 
ley ;  but  the  horses  and  people  were  very  much  stung,  and 
obliged  to  scamper  off  in  all  directions.  The  fire  which  had 
been  kindled  for  cooking,  being  deserted,  spread,  and  set  fire 
to  the  bamboos,  and  the  baggage  had  like  to  have  been 
burned.  In  fact,  for  half  an  hour  the  Bees  seemed  to  have 
completely  put  an  end  to  the  journey.  In  the  evening  when 
they  became  less  troublesome,  and  the  cattle  could  be  col- 
lected, it  was  found  that  many  of  them  were  very  much 
stung,  and  swollen  about  the  head.  Three  asses  were  miss- 
ing"; one  died  in  the  course  of  the  evening,  and  one  next 

1  Treatise  on  Bees,  1769.     Ins.  Misc.,  p.  320-1. 

2  Ftm.  Monarchic,  ch  i.  39. 

204  APIDiE — BEES. 

morninp:,  and  they  were  forced  to  leave  one  behind  the  next 
day.  Altogether  six  were  lost,  besides  which,  the  guide 
lost  his  horse,  and  many  of  the  people  were  much  stung 
about  the  face  and  hands. ^ 

But  in  the  Treasvrie  of  Avncient  and  Moderne  Times,  we 
find  the  following  :  "Anthenor,  writing  of  the  Isle  of  Crete 
(with  whom  also  ioyneth  ^Elianus)  saith,  that  a  great  multi- 
tude of  Bees  chased  al  the  dwellers  out  of  a  City,  and  vsed 
their  Houses  instead  of  Hives.'" 

Montaigne  mentions  the  following  singular  assistance 
rendered  by  Bees  to  the  inhabitants  of  Tamly  :  The  Por- 
tuguese having  besieged  the  City  of  Tamly,  in  the  territory 
of  Xiatine,  the  inhabitants  of  the  place  brought  a  great 
many  hives,  of  which  there  are  great  plenty  in  that  place, 
upon  the  wall ;  and  with  fire  drove  the  Bees  so  furiously 
upon  the  enemy  that  they  gave  over  the  enterprise,  not  being 
able  to  stand  their  attacks  and  endure  their  stings  :  and  so 
the  citizens,  by  this  new  sort  of  relief,  gained  liberty  and 
the  victory  with  so  wonderful  a  fortune,  that  at  the  return 
of  their  defenders  from  the  battle  they  found  they  had  not 
lost  so  much  as  one.^ 

Lesser  tells  us  that  in  1525,  during  the  confusion  occa- 
sioned by  a  time  of  war,  a  mob  assembling  in  Hohnstein  (in 
Thuringia)  attempted  to  plunder  the  house  of  the  minister 
of  Elende  ;  who  having  spokeij  to  them  with  no  efi'ect,  as  a 
last  resort  ordered  his  domestics  to  bring  his  Beehives,  and 
throw  them  in  the  midst  of  the  furious  mob.  The  desired 
effect  was  instantaneous,  for  the  mob  dispersed  immedi- 

Bees  have  also  been  employed  as  an  article  of  food.  Knox 
tells  us  that  the  natives  of  Ceylon,  when  they  meet  with  a 
swarm  of  Bees  hanging  on  a  tree,  hold  burning  torches 
under  them  to  make  them  drop ;  and  so  catch  and  carry 
them  home,  where  they  boil  and  eat  them,  in  their  estima- 
tion, as  excellent  food.^ 

Peter  Martyr,  speaking  of  the  Caribbean  Islands,  says  : 

1  Travels,  p.  178,  Harper's  ed. 

2  B.  VII.  c.  xvi.  p.  667.    Printed,  1613. 

3  Montaigne's   Works,  p.  243. 

4  Lesser,  ii.  171.    K.  &  S.  Introd.,  ii.  247. 

5  Knox,  Pt.  I.  e.  vi.  p.  48. 

APID^ — BEES.  205 

"  The  Inhabitantes  willingly  eate  the   young  Bees,  rawe, 
roasted,  and  sonietiraes  sodden."^ 

Bancroft  tells  us  that  when  the  negroes  of  Guiana  are 
stung  by  Bees,  they  in  revenge  eat  as  many  as  they  can 

The  following  account  of  the  Bee-eater  of  Selborne,  Eng- 
land, is  by  the  Reverend,  and  very  accurate  naturalist,  Gil- 
bert White:  "We  had  in  this  village,"  says  he,  "more 
than  twenty  years  ago  (about  1*765),  an  idiot  boy,  whom  I 
well  remember,  who,  from  a  child,  showed  a  strong  pro- 
pensity to  Bees  :  they  were  his  food,  his  amusement,  his  sole 
object ;  and  as  people  of  this  cast  have  seldom  more  than 
one  point  in  view,  so  this  lad  exerted  all  his  few  faculties  on 
this  one  pursuit.  In  the  winter  he  dozed  away  his  time, 
within  his  father's  house,  by  the  fireside,  in  a  kind  of  torpid 
state,  seldom  departing  from  the  chimney  corner ;  but  in  the 
summer  he  was  all  alert,  and  in  quest  of  his  game  in  the 
fields  and  on  sunny  banks.  Honey-bees,  Humble-bees,  and 
Wasps  were  his  prey,  wherever  he  found  them:  he  had  no 
apprehensions  from  their  stings,  but  would  seize  nudis 
marnhus,  and  at  once  disarm  them  of  their  weapons,  and 
search  their  bodies  for  the  sake  of  their  honey-bags.  Some- 
times he  would  fill  his  bosom  between  his  shirt  and  his  skin 
with  a  number  of  these  captives ;  and  sometimes  would 
confine  them  in  bottles.  He  was  a  very  Merops  apiaster, 
or  Bee-bird,  and  very  injurious  to  men  that  kept  Bees  ;  for 
he  would  slide  into  tiieir  Bee-gardens,  and,  sitting  down  be- 
fore the  stools,  would  rap  with  his  finger  on  the  hives,  and 
so  take  the  Bees  as  they  came  out.  He  has  been  known  to 
overtuT-n  hives  for  the  sake  of  honey,  of  which  he  was  pas- 
sionately fond.  Where  metheglin  was  making,  he  would 
linger  round  the  tubs  and  vessels,  begging  a  draught  of 
what  he  called  Bee-wine.  As  he  ran  about  he  used  to 
make  a  humming  noise  with  his  lips,  resembling  the  buzzing 
of  Bees.  This  lad  was  lean  and  sallow,  and  of  a  cadaverous 
complexion ;  and,  except  in  his  favorite  pursuit,  in  which 
he  was  wonderfully  adroit,  discovered  no  manner  of  under- 

There  is  a  peculiar  substance  formed  by  a  species  of  Bee 

1  Martyr,  p.  274. 

2  Banc.  Guiana,  p.  230. 

3  Nat.  Hist,  of  Selborne,  p.  293. 

206  APID^ — BEES. 

in  the  Orinoco  country,  which,  says  Captain  Stedman,  the 
roosting  tribes  burn  incessantly  in  their  habitations,  and 
which  effectually  protects  them  from  all  winged  insects. 
They  call  it  Comejou;  Gumilla  says  it  is  neither  earth  nor 

Concerning  the  medicinal  virtues  of  Bees,  Dr.  James 
says:  "Their  salts  are  very  volatile,  and  highly  exalted; 
for  this  reason,  when  dry'd,  powder'd,  and  taken  internally, 
they  are  diuretic  and  diaphoretic.  If  this  powder  is  mixed 
in  unguents,  with  which  the  head  is  anointed,  it  is  said  to 
cure  the  Alopecia,  and  to  contribute  to  the  growth  of  hair 
upon  bald  places."^ 

Another,  an  old  writer,  says:  "If  Bees,  when  dead,  are 
dried  to  powder,  and  given  to  either  man  or  beast,  this 
medicine  will  often  give  immediate  ease  in  the  most  excru- 
ciating pain,  and  remove  a  stoppage  in  the  body  when  all 
other  means  have  failed."  A  tea  made  by  pouring  boiling 
water  upon  Bees  has  recently  been  prescribed,  by  high  medi- 
cal authority,  for  violent  strangury  ;  while  the  poison  of  the 
Bee,  under  the  name  of  apis,  is  a  great  homoeopathic 

Concerning  wax,  Dr.  James  says  :  "  All  wax  is  heating, 
mollifying,  and  moderately  incaruing.  It  is  mixed  in  sorbile 
liquors  as  a  remedy  for  dysentery  ;  and  ten  bits,  of  the  size 
of  a  grain  of  millet,  swallowed,  prevent  the  curdling  of  milk 
in  the  breast  of  nurses."* 

[If  we  might  credit  the  history  of  former  times,  says  Jamie- 
son,  in  his  Scottish  Dictionary,  sub.  Walx,  iv.  642-3,  there 
must  have  been  a  considerable  demand  for  this  article  (wax) 
for  the  purpose  of  witchcraft.  It  was  generally  found  neces- 
sary, it  would  seem,  as  the  medium  of  inflicting  pain  on  the 
bodies  of  men. 

"  To  some  others  at  these  times  he  teacheth,  how  to  make 
pictures  of  icaxe  or  clay,  that  by  the  wasting  thereof,  the 
persons  that  they  beare  the  name  of,  may  be  continually 
melted  or  dried  away  by  continuall  sickenesse."  K.  James's 
Daemonologie,  B.  II.  c.  5. 

In  order  to  cause  acute  pain  in  the  patient,  pins,  we  are 

1  Trav.,  i.  9. 

2  Med.  Diet. 

3  Langslroth  on  Honey-Bee,  p.  315,  note. 
*  Med.  Did. 

APID^ BEES.  20*7 

told,  were  stuck  in  that  part  of  the  body  of  the  image,  in 
which  they  wished  the  person  to  suffer. 

The  same  plan  was  adopted  for  inspiring  another  with 
the  ardor  of  love. 

Then  mould  her  form  of  fairest  wax, 
AVith  adder's  eyes  and  feet  of  horn  ; 

Place  this  small  scroll  within  its  breast, 
Which  I,  your  friend,  have  hither  borne. 

Then  make  a  blaze  of  alder  wood, 
Before  your  fire  make  this  to  stand ; 

And  the  last  night  of  every  moon 
The  bonny  May's  at  your  command. 

Hogg's  Mountain  Bard,  p.  35. 

Then  it  follows  : 

AYith  fire  and  steel  to  urge  her  weel, 
See  that  you  neither  stint  nor  spare; 

For  if  the  cock  be  heard  to  crow, 
The  charm  will  vanish  into  air. 

The  wounds  given  to  the  image  were  supposed  to  be  pro- 
ductive of  similar  stounds  of  love  in  the  tender  heart  of  the 
maiden  whom  it  represented. 

A  female  form,  of  melting  wax, 

Mess  John  surveyed  with  steady  eye, 

Which  ever  an  anon  he  pierced. 

And  forced  the  lady  loud  to  cry. — P.  84. 

The  same  horrid  rites  were  observed  on  the  continent. 
For  Grilland  (de  Sortilegiis)  says  :  Quidam  solent  apponere 
imagmem  cerae  juxta  ignem  ardentera,  completis  sacrificiis, 
de  quibus  supra,  &  adhibere  quasdam  preces  nefarias,  & 
turpia  verba,  ut  quemadmodum  imago  ilia  igne  consumitur 
&  liquescit,  eodem  modo  cor  raulieris  amoris  calore  talis 
viri  feruenter  ardeat,  etc.     Malleus  Malefic.  T.  H.,  p.  232. 

It  cannot  be  doubted  that  these  rites  have  been  trans- 
mitted from  heathenism.  Theocritus  mentions  them  as 
practiced  by  the  Greeks  in  his  time.  For  he  introduces 
Samoetha  as  using  similar  enchantments,  partly  for  punish- 
ing, and  partly  for  regaining  her  faithless  lover. 

But  strew  the  salt,  and  say  in  angry  tones, 
"I  scatter  Delphid's,  perjured  Delphid's  bones. "^ 
— First  Delphid  injured  me,  he  raised  my  flame, 
And  now  I  burn  this  bough  in  Delphid's  name  ; 

208  APID.E — BEES. 

As  this  dolh  blaze,  and  break  away  in  fume, 
How  soon  it  takes,  let  Delpbid's  flesh  consume, 
lynx,  restore  my  false,  my  perjured  swain, 
And  force  him  back  into  my  arms  again. — 
As  this  devoted  wax  melts  o'er  the  fire, 
Let  Mindian  Delj^hy  melt  in  warm  desire ! 

Idylliums,  p.  12,  13, 

Samoetha  burns  the  bough  in  the  name  of  her  false  lover, 
and  terms  the  wax  devoted.  With  this  the  more  modern 
ritual  of  witchcraft  corresponded.  The  name  of  the  person, 
represented  by  the  image,  was  invoked.  For  according  to 
the  narrative  given  concerning  the  witches  of  Pollock-shaws, 
having  bound  the  image  on  a  spit,  they  "  turned  it  before 
the  fire, — saying,  as  they  turned  it,  Sir  George  Maxwell, 
Sir  George  Maxwell;  and  that  this  was  expressed  by  all 
of  them."     Glanvil's  Sadducismus,  p.  391. 

According  to  Grilland,  the  image  was  baptized  in  the 
name  of  Beelzebub.     Malleus,  ut.  sup.,  p.  229. 

There  is  nothing  analogous  to  the  Grecian  rite,  mentioned 
by  Theocritus,  of  strewing  salt.  For  Grilland  asserts  that, 
in  the  festivals  of  the  witches,  salt  was  never  presented. 
Ibid.,  p.  215.  It  was  perhaps  exclnded  from  their  infernal 
rites  as  having  been  so  much  used  as  a  sacred  symbol.] 

The  following  are  among  the  twenty-eight  "  singular 
vertues"  attributed  by  Butler  to  Honey  ;"...,  It  breedeth 
good  blood,  it  prolongeth  old  age  .  ,  ,  ,  yea  the  bodies  of 
the  dead  being  embalmed  with  honey  have  been  thereby  pre- 
served from  putrefaction.  And  Afhenseus  doth  witness  it 
to  be  as  effectual  for  the  living,  writing  out  of  Lycus,  that 
the  Cyrneans,  or  inhabitants  of  Corsica,  were  therefore  long- 
lived,  because  they  did  dailie  vse  to  feed  on  honey,  whereof 
they  had  abundance  :  and  no  marvaile  :  seeing  it  is  so  sove- 
raigne  a  thing,  and  so  many  waies  available  for  man's 
health,  as  well  being  outwardly  as  inwardly  applied.  It  is 
drunke  against  the  bite  of  a  serpent  or  mad  dogs :  and  it 
is  good  for  them  having  eaten  mushrooms,  or  drunke  popy, 

In  the  Treasvrie  of  Avncient  and  Moderne  Times,^  there 
are  two  chapters  devoted  to  the  "  Yertues  of  Honey." 

1  Fern.  Monarchies  c,  x.  1. 

2  B.  3,  c,  XV.  xvi.  p.  274-9.  See  also  extract  from  Works  of  Sir 
J.  More,  London,  1707,  given  by  Langstroth — on  the  Honey-Bee,  p. 
287,  note. 

APID^ — BEES.  209 

There  is  a  story,  that  a  man  once  came  to  Mohammed, 
and  told  him  that  his  brother  was  afflicted  with  a  violent 
pain  in  his  belly;  upon  which  the  prophet  bade  him  give 
him  some  honey.  The  fellow  took  his  advice;  but  soon 
after  coming  again,  told  him  that  the  medicine  had  done  his 
brother  no  manner  of  service :  Mohammed  answered,  ^'  Go 
and  give  him  more  honey,  for  God  speaks  truth,  and  thy 
brother's  belly  lies."  And  the  dose  being  repeated,  the 
man,  by  God's  mercy,  was  immediately  cured. ^ 

In  the  sixteenth  chapter  of  the  Koran,  Mohammed  has 
likewise  mentioned  honey  as  a  medicine  for  men.^ 

Athenasus  tells  us  that  Democritus,  the  philosopher  of 
Abdera,  after  he  had  determined  to  rid  himself  of  life  on 
account  of  his  extreme  old  age,  and  when  he  had  begun  to 
diminish  his  food  day  by  day,  when  the  day  of  the  Thesmo- 
phonian  festival  came  round,  and  the  women  of  his  house- 
hold besought  him  not  to  die  during  the  festival,  in  order 
that  they  might  not  be  debarred  from  their  share  of  the 
festivities,  was  persuaded  and  ordered  a  vessel  full  of  honey 
to  be  set  near  him :  and  in  this  way  he  lived  many  days  with 
no  other  support  than  honey;  and  then  some  days  after, 
when  the  honey  had  been  taken  away,  he  died.  But  Demo- 
critus, Athena3us  adds,  had  always  been  fond  of  honey ;  and 
he  once  answered  a  man,  who  had  asked  him  how  he  could 
live  in  the  enjoyment  of  the  best  health,  that  he  might  do 
so  if  he  constantly  moistened  his  inward  parts  with  honey 
and  his  outward  man  with  oil.  Bread  and  honey  was  the 
chief  food  of  the  Pythagoreans,  according  to  the  statement 
of  Aristoxenus,  who  says  that  those  who  ate  this  for  break- 
fast were  free  from  disease  all  their  lives.^ 

"  The  gall  of  a  vulture,"  says  Moufet,  quoting  Galen,  in 
Eaporist,  "mingled  with  the  juice  of  horehound  (twice  as 
much  in  weight  as  the  gall  is)  and  two  parts  of  honey  cures 
the  suffusion  of  the  eyes.  Otherwise  he  mingles  one  part 
of  the  gall  of  the  sea-tortoise,  and  four  times  as  much  honey, 
and  anoints  the  eyes  with  it.  Serenus  prescribes  such  a  re- 
ceipt to  cause  one  to  be  quick-sighted : 

1  The  Koran,  p.  219,  note,  Sale's. 

^Ibid.,  p.  219. 

3  Athen.  Deijjn.,  B.  2,  c.  26. 


210  APID^ — BEES. 

Mingle  Hybloean  honey  with  the  gall 

Of  Goats,  'tis  good  to  make  one  see  withall."i 

We  are  told  in  the  German  Ephemerides,  that  a  young 
country  girl,  having  eaten  a  great  deal  of  honey,  became  so 
inebriated  with  it,  that  she  slept  the  whole  day,  and  talked 
foolishly  the  day  following.^ 

Bevan,  in  his  work  on  the  Honey-Bee,  mentions  the  fol- 
lowing instances  of  a  curious  use  to  which  propolis  is  some- 
times put  by  the  Bees :  A  snail,  says  he,  having  crept  into 
one  of  Mr.  Beaumur's  hives  early  in  the  morning,  after 
crawling  about  for  some  time,  adhered,  by  means  of  its  own 
slime,  to  one  of  the  glass  panes.  The  Bees,  having  dis- 
covered the  snail,  surrounded  it,  and  formed  a  border  of 
propolis  round  the  verge  of  its  shell,  and  fastened  it  so 
securely  to  the  glass  that  it  became  immovable. 

Forever  closed  the  impenetrable  door; 

It  naught  avails  that  in  its  torpid  veins 

Year  after  year,  life's  loitering  spark  remains. 


Maraldi,  another  eminent  Apiarian,  states  that  a  snail 
without  a  shell  having  entered  one  of  his  hives,  the  Bees,  as 
soon  as  they  observed  it,  stung  it  to  death ;  after  which, 
being  unable  to  dislodge  it,  they  covered  it  all  over  with  an 
impervious  coat  of  propolis. 

For  soon  in  fearless  ire,  their  wonder  lost, 
Spring  fiercely  from  the  comb  the  indignant  host, 
Lay  tlie  pierced  monster  breathless  on  the  ground, 
And  chip  in  joy  their  victor  pinions  round: 
While  all  in  vain  concurrent  numbers  strive 
To  heave  tlie  slime-girt  giant  from  the  hive — 
Sure  not  alone  by  force  instinctive  swayed, 
But  blest  witli  reason's  soul-directing  aid, 
Alike  in  man  or  bee,  they  haste  to  pour, 
Thick,  hard'ning  as  it  falls,  the  flaky  shower; 
Embalmed  in  shroud  of  glue  the  mummy  lies, 
No  worms  invade,  no  foul  miasmas  rise. 


Xenophon  tells  us  that  all  the  soldiers,  who  ate  of  the 
honey-combs,  found  in  the  villages  on  the  mountains  of  the 

1  Moufet,  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  29.     Topsel's  Trans.,  p.  911. 

2  Brooke's  Nat.  Hist,  of  Ins.,  p.  108. 

2  Quot.  by  Laugstroth  on  the  IIoney-Bce,  p.  78-9. 

APID^ — BEES.  211 

Colchians,  lost  their  senses,  and  were  seized  with  such  vio- 
lent vomiting  and  purging,  that  none  of  them  were  able  to 
stand  upon  their  legs  :  that  those  who  ate  but  little,  were  like 
men  very  drunk,  and  those  who  ate  much,  like  madmen,  and 
some  like  dying  persons.  In  this  condition,  this  writer  adds, 
great  numbers  lay  upon  the  ground,  as  if  there  had  been  a 
defeat,  and  a  general  sorrow  prevailed.  The  next  day,  they 
all  recovered  their  senses,  about  the  same  hour  they  were 
seized ;  and,  on  the  third  and  fourth  days,  they  got  up  as  if 
they  had  taken  physic.^ 

Pliny  accounts  for  this  accident  by  saying  there  is  found 
in  that  country  a  kind  of  honey,  called  from  its  effects,  Thse- 
nomenon,  that  is,  that  those  who  eat  it  are  seized  with  mad- 
ness. He  adds,  that  the  common  opinion  is  that  this  honey 
is  gathered  from  the  flowers  of  a  plant  called  Wiododendros, 
which  is  very  common  in  those  parts.  Tournefort  thinks 
the  modern  Laurocerasus  is  the  Rhododendros  of  Pliny, 
from  the  fact  that  the  people  of  that  country,  at  the  present 
day,  believe  the  honey  that  is  gathered  from  its  flowers  will 
produce  the  effects  described  by  Xenophon.^ 

The  missionary  Moffat  in  South  Africa  found  some  poison- 
ous honey,  which  he  unknowingly  ate,  but  with  no  serious 
consequences.  It  was  several  days,  however,  before  he  got 
rid  of  a  most  unpleasant  sensation  in  his  head  and  throat. 
The  plant  from  which  the  honey  had  been  gathered  was  an 

"In  Podolia,"  says  the  chronicler  HoUingshed,  "which  is 
now  subject  to  the  King  of  Poland,  their  hives  (of  Bees) 
and  combes  are  so  abundant,  that  huge  bores,  overturning 
and  falling  into  them,  are  drowned  in  the  honie,  before  they 
can  recover  &  find  the  meanes  to  come  out."* 

Honey  was  offered  up  to  the  Sun  by  the  ancient  Peru- 

Dr.  Sparrman  has  described  a  Hottentot  dance,  which  he 
calls  the  Bee-dance.  It  is  in  imitation  of  a  swarm  of  Bees; 
every  performer  as  he  jumps  around  making  a  buzzing  noise.s 

1  Anab.,  B.  4. 

2  Pliny,  Hat.  Hist.,  xxi.  13.     Tournefort,  Letters,  V 

3  3fission.  Lab.,  p.  121. 

4  Hollingsh.  Chron.,  i.  384. 

5  Hawk's  Peruvian  Antiq.,  p.  198, 
fi  Voyage  to  C.  of  G.  Hope,  i.  255, 

212  APTDiE — BEES. 

"To  have  a  Bee  in  one's  bonnet"  is  a  Scottish  proverbial 
phrase  about  equivalent  to  the  English,  "To  have  a  maggot 
in  one's  head" — to  be  hair-brained.  Kelly  gives  this  with 
an  additional  word:  "There's  a  Bee  in  your  bonnet-ease." 
In  Scotland,  too,  it  is  said  of  a  confused  or  stupefied  man, 
that  his  "head  is  in  the  Bees."^  These  proverbial  expres- 
sions were  also  in  vogue  in  England.^ 

The  following  beautiful  epigram,  on  a  Bee  inclosed  in 
amber,  is  from  the  pen  of  Martial :  "  The  Bee  is  inclosed, 
and  shines  preserved,  in  a  tear  of  the  sisters  of  Phaeton,  so 
that  it  seems  enshrined  in  its  own  nectar.  It  has  obtained 
a  worthy  reward  for  its  great  toils ;  we  may  suppose  that 
the  Bee  itself  would  have  desired  such  a  death. 

The  Bee  inclosed,  and  through  the  amber  shown. 
Seems  buried  in  the  juice  that  was  her  own. 
So  honored  was  a  life  in  labor  spent: 
Such  might  she  wish  to  have  her  monument. "3 

The  Septuagint  has  the  following  eulogium  on  the  Bee  in 
Prov.  vi.  8,  which  is  not  found  in  the  Hebrew  Scriptures :  "  Go 
to  the  Bee,  and  learn  how  diligent  she  is,  and  what  a  noble 
work  she  produces,  whose  labors  kings  and  private  men  use 
for  their  -health  ;  she  is  desired  and  honored  by  all,  and 
though  weak  in  strength,  yet  since  she  values  wisdom,  she 

In  Spain  Bees  are  in  great  estimation ;  and  this  is  evinced 
by  the  ancient  proverb : 

Abeja  y  oveja, 

Y  piedra  que  traveja, 

Y  pendola  trans  orcja, 

Y  parte  en  la  Igreja, 
Desea  a  su  hija,  la  vieja 

The  best  wishes  of  a  Spanish  mother  to  her  son  are, 
Bees,  sheep,  millstones,  a  pen  behind  the  ear,  and  a  place 
in  the  church.^ 

The  following  anecdote  in  the  history  of  the  Humble-bee 

1  Jamieson's  Scot.  Diet. 

2  Wright's  7^0?;.  Diet. 

3  Epigrams,  B.  iv.  epigr.  32. 
*  Smith's  Did.  of  the  Bible. 

5  Osbeek's  Travels,  i.  32-3. 

APIDiE — BEES.  213 

{Bomhui<)  is  from  the  account  of  Josselyn  of  his  voyages  to 
New  England,  printed  in  1674:  "Near  upon  twenty  years 
since  there  lived  an  old  planter  near  Blackpoint,  who  on  a 
Sunshine  day  about  one  of  the  clock  lying  upon  a  green  bank 
not  far  from  his  house,  charged  his  Son,  a  lad  of  12  years  of 
age,  to  awaken  him  when  he  had  slept  two  hours ;  the  old 
man  falls  asleep,  and  lying  upon  his  back  gaped  with  his 

mouth  wide  open  enough  for  a  Hawke  to into  it;  after 

a  little  while  the  lad  sitting  by  spied  a  Humble-bee  creeping 
out  of  his  Father's  mouth,  which  taking  wing  flew  quite  out 
of  sight,  the  hour  as  the  lad  guest  being  come  to  awaken  his 
Father,  he  jagged  him  and  called  aloud  Father,  Father,  it  is 
two  o'clock,  but  all  would  not  rouse  him,  at  last  he  sees  the 
Humble-bee  returning,  who  lighted  upon  the  sleeper's  lip 
and  walked  down  as  the  lad  conceived  into  his  belly,  and 
presently  he  awaked."^ 

The  following,  on  the  different  species  of  Humble-bees,  is 
one  of  the  popular  rhymes  of  Scotland  : 

The  todler-tyke  lias  a  very  gude  byke, 

And  sae  lias  the  gairy  Bee  ; 
But  weel's  me  on  the  little  red-doup, 

The  best  o'  a'  the  three. ^ 

When  the  Archbishop  of  St.  Andrews  was  cruelly  mur- 
dered in  1679,  "  upon  the  opening  of  his  tobacco  box  a  living 
humming  bee  flew  out,"  which  was  explained  to  be  a  familiar 
or  devil.  A  Scottish  woman  declared  that  a  child  was  poi- 
soned by  its  grandmother,  who,  together  with  herself,  were 
"  in  the  shape  of  burae-bees,"  that  the  former  carried  the 
poison  "in  her  cleugh,  wings,  and  mouth."  A  great  Bee 
constantly  resorted  to  another  after  receiving  the  Satanic 
mark,  and  rested  on  it.^ 

An  anecdote  is  related  by  M.  Reaumur  respecting  the 
thimble- shaped  nest,  formed  of  leaves,  of  the  Carpenter-bee 
(Apis  centiinctdaris?),  which  is  a  striking  instance  of  the 
ridiculous  superstition  which  prevails  among  the  unedu- 
cated, and  which  even  sometimes  has  no  slight  influence  on 
those  of  better  understandings.  "  In  the  beginning  of  July, 
1736,  the  learned  Abbe  Nollet,  then  at  Paris,  was  surprised 

1  Josselyn's  Vo?/.,  p.  121. 

2  Chambers'  Fop.  Rhymes  of  Scot.,  p.  292.     Edit,  of  1841,  p.  172. 

3  Dalyell's  Superst.  of  Scolland,  p.  568. 


214  APIP^E — BEES. 

by  a  visit  from  an  auditor  of  the  chamber  of  accounts, 
whose  estate  lay  at  a  distant  village  on  the  borders  of 
the  Seine,  a  few  leagues  from  Rouen.  This  gentleman 
came  accompanied,  among  other  domestics,  by  a  gardener, 
whose  face  had  an  air  of  much  concern.  He  had  come 
to  Paris  in  consequence  of  having  found  in  his  master's 
ground  many  rows  of  leaves,  unaccountably  disposed  in 
a  mystical  manner,  and  which  he  could  not  but  believe 
were  there  placed  by  witchcraft,  for  the  secret  destruc- 
tion of  his  lord  and  family.  He  had,  after  recovering 
from  his  first  consternation,  shown  them  to  the  curate  of  the 
parish,  who  was  inclined  to  be  of  a  similar  opinion,  and  ad- 
vised him  without  delay  to  take  a  journey  to  Paris,  and 
make  his  lord  acquainted  with  the  circumstance.  This  gen- 
tleman, though  not  quite  so  much  alarmed  as  the  honest 
gardener,  could  not  feel  himself  at  perfect  ease,  and  there- 
fore thought  it  advisable  to  consult  his  surgeon  upon  the 
business,  who,  though  a  man  eminent  in  his  profession, 
declared  himself  utterly  unacquainted  with  the  nature  of 
what  was  shown  him,  but  took  the  liberty  of  advising  that 
the  Abbe  Nollet,  as  a  philosopher,  should  be  consulted, 
whose  well-known  researches  in  natural  knowledge  might 
perhaps  enable  him  to  elucidate  the  matter.  It  was  in 
consequence  of  this  advice  that  the  Abbe  received  the  visit 
above  mentioned,  and  had  the  satisfaction  of  relieving  all 
parties  from  their  embarrassment,  by  showing  them  several 
nests  formed  on  a  similar  plan  by  other  insects,  and  assuring 
them  that  those  in  their  possession  were  the  work  of  insects 

In  an  English  paper,  the  Observer,  of  July  25,  1813, 
there  is  an  account  of  a  "swarm  of  Bees  resting  themselves 
on  the  inside  of  a  lady's  parasol."  They  were  hived  with- 
out any  serious  injury  to  the  lady. 

In  the  Annual  Register,  1*767,  p.  117,  thei^e  was  published 
by  M.  Lippi,  Licentiate  in  Physic  of  the  army  of  Paris,  an 
account  of  a  petrified  Beehive,  discovered  on  the  mountains 
of  Siout,  in  Upper  Egypt.  Broken  open  it  disclosed  the 
larva3  of  Bees  in  the  cells,  hard  and  solid,  and  Bees  them- 
selves dried  up  like  mummies.  Honey  was  also  found  in 
the  cells  !^  The  account  is  curious,  but  not  entitled  to  much 

1  Shaw's  Zool.,  vi.  346-7.     Wood's  Zoog.,  ii.  436-7. 

2  Kirhy's  Wonderful  Hfuseum,  v.  390-1,  given  at  leiigtli.^ 

APID^ — BEES.  215 

In  the  Liverpool  Advertiser,  and  Times,  of  Nov.  24, 
1817,  there  is  a  lengthy  account  of  three  Bees  being  found 
in  a  state  of  animation  in  a  huge  solid  rock  from  the  West- 
ern Point  Quarry.  Scientific  attention  was  attracted,  and 
as  appears  from  the  above-mentioned  papers  of  Dec.  5,  1817, 
the  mystery  was  cleared  up  by  discovering  in  the  rock  "  a 
sand  hole"  through  which  the  insects  had  made  their  way.^ 

1  Kirby's  Wond.  Museum,  vi.  260-2,  at  length. 



Papilionidae — Butterflies. 

The  lepidopterous  insects  in  general,  soon  after  they 
emerge  from  the  pupa  state,  and  commonly  during  their  first 
flight,  discharge  some  drops  of  a  red-colored  fluid,  more  or 
less  intense  in  different  species,  which,  in  some  instances, 
where  their  numbers  have  been  considerable,  have  produced 
the  appearance  of  a  "shower  of  blood,"  as  this  natural  phe- 
nomenon is  commonly  called. 

Showers  of  blood  have  been  recorded  by  historians  and 
poets  as  preternatural — have  been  considered  in  the  light  of 
prodigies,  and  regarded  where  they  have  happened  as  fearful 
prognostics  of  impending  evils. 

There  are  two  passages  in  Homer,  which,  however  poeti- 
cal, are  applicable  to  a  rain  of  this  kind  ;  and  among  the 
prodigies  which  took  place  after  the  death  of  the  great 
dictator,  Ovid  particularly  mentions  a  shower  of  blood : 

Sajpe  faces  visas  mecliis  ardere  sub  astris, 
Ssepe  inter  nimbos  guttee  cecidere  cruentae. 

With  tlireatening  signs  the  lowering  skies  were  fiU'd, 
And  sanguine  drops  from  murky  clouds  distilled. 

Among  the  nurherous  prodigies  reported  by  Livy  to  have 
happened  in  the  year  214  B.C.,  it  is  instanced  that,  at  Man- 
tua, a  stagnating  piece  of  water,  caused  by  the  overflowing 
of  the  River  Mincius,  appeared  as  of  blood ;  and,  in  the 
cattle-market  at  Rome,  a  shower  of  blood  fell  in  the  Istrian 
Street.  After  mentioning  several  other  remarkable  phe- 
nomena tiiat  happened  during  that  year,  Livy  concludes  by 
saying  that  these  prodigies  were  expiated,  confornii'bly  to 
the  answers  of  the  Aruspices,  by  victims  of  the  greater 
kinds,  and  supplication  was  ordered  to  be  performed  to  all 


the  deities  who  had  shrines  at  Kome.^  Again  it  is  stated 
by  Livy,  that  many  alarming  prodigies  were  seen  at  Rome 
in  the  year  181  B.C.,  and  others  reported  from  abroad; 
among  which  was  a  shower  of  blood,  which  fell  in  the 
courts  of  the  temples  of  Yulcan  and  Concord.  After 
mentioning  that  the  image  of  Juno  Sospita  shed  tears, 
and  that  a  pestilence  broke  out  in  the  country,  this  writer 
adds,  that  these  prodigies,  and  the  mortality  which  prevailed, 
alarmed  the  Senate  so  much,  that  they  ordered  the  consuls 
to  sacrifice  to  such  gods  as  their  judgment  should  direct, 
victims  of  the  larger  kinds,  and  that  the  Decemvirs  should 
consult  their  books.  Pursuant  to  their  direction,  a  suppli- 
cation for  one  day  was  proclaimed  to  be  performed  at  every 
shrine  at  Rome ;  and  they  advised,  besides,  and  the  Senate 
voted,  and  the  consul  proclaimed,  that  there  should  be  a 
supplication  and  public  worship  for  three  days  throughoiit 
all  Italy.^  In  the  year  169  B.C.,  Livy  also  mentions  that  a 
shower  of  blood  fell  in  the  middle  of  the  day.  The  Decem- 
virs were  again  called  upon  to  consult  their  books,  and  again 
were  sacrifices  offered  to  the  deities.^  The  account,  also,  of 
Livy,  of  the  bloody  sweat,  on  some  of  the  statues  of  the 
gods,  must  be  referred  to  the  same  phenomenon ;  as  the  pre- 
dilection of  those  ages  to  marvel,  says  Thomas  Brown,  and 
the  want  of  accurate  investigation  in  the  cases  recorded, 
as  well  as  the  rare  occurrence  of  these  atmospherical  depo- 
sitions in  our  own  times,  inclines  us  to  include  them  among 
the  blood-red  drops  deposited  by  insects.^ 

In  Stow's  Annales  of  England,  we  have  two  accounts  of 
showers  of  blood ;  and  from  an  edition  printed  in  London 
in  1592,  we  make  our  quotations:  ''Rivallus,  sonne  of 
Cunedagius,  succeeded  his  father,  in  whose  time  (in  the  year 
TBG  B.C.)  it  rained  blond  3  dayes  :  after  which  tempest 
ensued  a  great  multitude  of  venemous  flies,  which  slew  much 
people,  and  then  a  great  mortalitie  throughout  this  lande, 
caused  almost  desolation  of  the  same."^  The  second 
account  is  as  follows  :  "In  the  time  of  Brithricus  (a.d.  786) 
it  rayned  blood,  which  falling  on  men's  clothes,  appeared 
like  crosses."*' 

1  Livy,  B.  34,  c.  10.     2  Ibid.,  B.  40,  c.  19.      3  /^/^,^  b.  43,  c.  13. 

*  Brown's  Book  of  Butterflies^  i.  126, 

s  Annales,  p.  15.  «  fbid. 


HollinG^shed,  Graften,  and  Fabyan  have  also  recorded 
these  instances  in  their  respective  chronicles  of  England.^ 

A  remarl^able  instance  of  bloody  rain  is  introduced  into 
the  very  interesting  Icelandic  ghost  story  of  Thorgunna. 
It  appears  that  in  the  year  of  our  Lord  1009,  a  woman 
called  Thorgunna  came  from  the  Hebrides  to  Iceland,  where 
she  stayed  at  the  house  of  Thorodd :  and  during  the  hay 
season,  a  shower  of  blood  fell,  but  only,  singularly,  on  that 
portion  of  the  hay  she  had  not  piled  up  as  her  share,  which 
so  appalled  her  that  she  betook  herself  to  her  bed,  and  soon 
afterward  died.  She  left,  to  finish  the  story,  a  reraai-kable 
will,  which,  from  not  being  executed,  was  the  cause  of  seve- 
ral violent  deaths,  the  appearance  of  ghosts,  and,  finally,  a 
legal  action  of  ejectment  against  the  ghosts,  which,  it  need 
hardly  be  said,  drove  them  effectually  away.^ 

In  ion,  a  shower  of  blood  fell  in  Aquitaine  f  and  Sleidan 
relates  that  in  the  year  1553  a  vast  multitude  of  Buterflies 
swarmed  through  a  great  part  of  Germany,  and  sprinkled 
plants,  leaves,  buildings,  clothes,  and  men  with  bloody  drops, 
as  if  it  had  rained  blood. ^  We  learn  also  from  Bateraan's 
Doome,  that  these  "  drops  of  bloude  upon  hearbes  and  irees," 
in  1553,  were  deemed  among  the  forewarnings  of  the  deaths 
of  Charles  and  Philip,  dukes  of  Brunswick.^ 

In  Frrnkfort,  in  the  year  1296,  among  other  prodigies, 
some  spots  of  blood  led  to  a  massacre  of  the  Jews,  in  which 
ten  thousand  of  these  unhappy  descendants  of  Abraham 
lost  their  lives.^ 

In  the  beginning  of  July,  1608,  an  extensive  sho'ver  of 
blood  took  place  at  Aix,  in  France,  which  threw  the  people 
of  that  p^ace  into  the  utmost  consternation,  and,  which  is  a 
much  more  important  fact,  led  to  the  Tirst  satisfactory  and 
philosophical  explanation  of  this  phenomenon,  but  too  late, 
alas  !  to  save  the  Jews  of  Frankfort.  This  explanation  was 
given  by  M.  Peiresc,  a  celebrated  philosopher  of  that  place, 
and  is  thus  referred  to  by  his  biographer,  Gassendi:  "No- 
thing in  the  whole  year  1608  did  more  please  him  than  that 
he  observed  and  philosophized  about,  the  bloody  rain,  which 

1  Holling.,  i.  449.    Graft.,  i.  37.    Fabyan,  p.  17. 

2  Ilowitt's  North.  Literat.,i.  187. 

3  Bucke  071  Nature,  i.  277. 

4  Moufet,  p.  107. 

5  Hone's  Eo.  Day  Book,  p.  1127. 

6  Chambers'  Domest.  Annals  of  Scotland,  ii.  48'.). 


was  commonly  reported  to  have  fallen  about  the  beginning 
of  July ;  great  drops  thereof  were  plainly  to  be  seen,  both 
in  the  city  itself,  upon  the  walls  of  the  church-yard  of  the 
church,  which  is  near  the  city  wall,  and  upon  the  city  walls 
themselves;  also  upon  the  walls  of  villages,  hamlets,  and 
towns,  for  some  miles  round  about;  for  in  the  firsL  place,  he 
went  himself  to  see  those  wherewith  the  stones  were  colored, 
and  did  what  he  could  to  come  to  speak  with  those  husband- 
men, who,  beyond  Lambesk,  were  reported  to  have  been 
affrighted  at  the  falling  of  said  rain,  that  they  left  their 
work,  and  ran  as  fast  as  their  legs  could  carry  them  into  the 
adjacent  houses.  Whereupon,  he  found  that  it  was  a  fable 
that  was  reported,  touching  those  husbandmen.  Nor  was 
he  pleased  that  naturalists  should  refer  this  kind  of  rain  to 
vapours  drawn  up  out  of  red  earth  aloft  in  the  air,  which 
congealing  afterwards  into  liquor,  fall  down  in  this  form ; 
because  such  vapours  as  are  drawne  aloft  by  heat,  ascend 
without  color,  as  we  may  know  by  the  alone  example  of  red 
roses,  out  of  which  the  vapours  that  arise  by  heac  are  con- 
gealed into  transparent  water.  He  was  less  pleased  with 
the  common  people,  and  some  divines,  who  judged  that  it  was 
the  work  of  the  devils  and  witches  who  had  killed  innocent 
young  children  ;  for  this  he  counted  a  mere  conjecture,  possi- 
bly also  injurious  to  the  goodness  and  providence  of  God. 

"In  the  mean  while  an  accident  happened,  out  o^^  which  he 
conceived  he  had  collected  the  true  cause  thereof.  For,  some 
months  before,  he  shut  up  in  a  box  a  certain  palmer- worm 
which  he  had  found,  rare  for  its  bigness  and  form  ;  which,  when 
he  haJ  forgotten,  he  heard  a  buzzing  in  the  box,  and  when  he 
opened  it,  found  the  palmer-worm,  having  cast  its  coat,  to 
be  turned  into  a  beautiful  Butterfly,  which  presently  flew 
away,  leaving  in  the  bottom  of  the  box  a  red  drop  as  broad 
as  an  ordinary  sous  or  shilling ;  and  because  this  happened 
about  the  beginning  of  the  same  month,  and  about  the  same 
time  an  incredible  multitude  of  Butterflies  were  observed 
flying  in  the  air,  he  was  therefore  of  opinion  that  such  kind 
of  Butterflies  resting  on  the  walls  had  there  shed  such  like 
drops,  and  of  the  same  bigness.  Whereupon,  he  went  the 
second  time,  and  found,  by  experience,  that  those  drops 
were  not  to  be  found  on  the  house-tops,  nor  upon  the  round 
sides  jf  the  stones  which  stuck  out,  as  it  would  liave  hap- 
pened, if  blood  had  fallen  from  the  sky,  but  rather  where 
the  stones  were  somewhat  hollowed,  and  in  holes,  where 


such  small  creatures  might  shroud  and  nestle  themselves. 
Moreover,  the  walls  which  were  so  spotted,  were  not  in  the 
middle  of  towns,  but  they  were  such  as  bordered  upon  the 
fields,  nor  were  they  on  the  highest  parts,  but  only  so 
moderately  high  as  Butterflies  are  commonly  wont  to  fly. 

''  Thus,  therefore,  he  interpreted  that  which  Gregory  of 
Tours  relates,  touching  a  bloody  rain  seen  at  Paris  in  divers 
places,  in  the  days  of  Childebert,  and  on  a  certain  house  in 
the  territory  of  Seulis;  also  that  which  is  storied,  touching  ' 
raining  of  blood  about  the  end  of  June,  in  the  days  of  King 
Robert;  so  that  the  blood  which  fell  upon  flesh,  garments, 
or  stones  could  not  be  washed  out,  but  that  which  fell  on 
wood  might;  for  it  was  the  same  season  of  Butterflies,  and 
experience  hath  taught  us,  that  no  water  will  wash  these 
spots  out  of  the  stones,  while  they  are  fresh  and  new.  When 
he  had  said  these  and  such  like  things  to  various,  a  great 
company  of  auditors  being  present,  it  was  agreed  that  they 
should  go  together  and  search  out  the  matter,  and  as  they 
went  up  and  down,  here  and  there,  through  the  fields,  they 
found  many  drops  upon  stones  and  rocks;  but  they  were 
only  on  the  hollow  and  under  parts  of  the  stones,  but  not 
upon  those  which  lay  most  open  to  the  skies.  "^ 

This  memorable  shower  of  blood  was  produced  by  the 
Vanessa  urticae,  or  V.  polychloros,  most  probably,  since 
these  species  of  Butterflies  are  said  to  have  been  uncom- 
monly plentiful  at  the  time  when,  and  in  the  particular  dis- 
trict where,  the  phenomenon  was  observed.^  ^ 

1  GassencU's  Life  of  Pdreskius,  p.  123-5;  and  Reaumur,  i.  638,  667. 

2  Shaw,  ZooL,  vi.  206. 

2  The  origin  of  red  snow  has  likewise  been  a  puzzle  and  query  for 
ages,  and  many  .theories  have  been  advanced  by  philosophers  and 
naturalists  to  account  for  it.  To  those  interested  in  the  solution  of 
this  phenomenon,  the  following  extract  from  the  Mag.  of  Nat.  Hist., 
vol.  ii.  p.  322,  may  be  curious,  if  not  satisfactory.  Mr.  Thomas 
Nicholson,  accompanied  with  two  other  gentlemen,  made  an  excur- 
sion the  2-lth  July,  1821,  to  Sowallick  Point,  near  Bushman's 
Island,  in  Prince  llegent's  Bay,  in  quest  of  meteoric  iron.  "The 
summit  of  the-  hill,"  he  says,  "forming  the  point,  is  covered  with 
huge  masses  of  granite,  whilst  tlie  side,  which  forms  a  gentle  de- 
clivity to  the  bay,  was  covered  with  crimson  snow.  It  was  evident, 
at  first  view,  that  this  colour  was  imparted  to  the  snow  by  a  sub- 
stance lying  on  the  surface.  Tliis  substance  lay  scattered  here  and 
there  in  small  masses,  bearing  some  resemblance  to  powdered  cochi- 
neal, surrounded  by  a  lighter  shade,  which  was  produced  by  the 
colouring  matter  being  partly  dissolved  and  diffused  by  the  deli- 


Nicoll,  in  his  Diary,  p.  8,  informs  us  that  on  the  28th  of 
May,  1650,  "there  rained  blood  the  space  of  three  miles  in 
the  Earl  of  Bnccleuch's  bounds  (Scotland),  near  the  Eoglish 
border,  which  was  verefied  in  presence  of  the  Committee  of 

We  learn  from  Fountainhall  that  on  Sunday,  May  1st, 
1687,  a  young  woman  of  noted  piety,  Janet  Fraser  by  name, 
the  daughter  of  a  weaver  in  the  parish  of  Closeburn,  Dum- 
friesshire, went  out  to  the  fields  with  a  young  female  com- 
panion, and  sat  down  to  read  the  Bible  not  far  from  her 
father's  house.  Feeling  thirsty,  she  went  to  the  river-side 
(the  Nith)  to  get  a  drink,  leaving  her  Bible  open  at  the 
place  where  she  had  been  reading,  which  presented  the 
verses  of  the  34th  chapter  of  Isaiah,  beginning — "My  sword 
shall  be  bathed  in  heaven :  behold,  it  shall  come  down  upon 
Idumea,  and  upon  the  people  of  my  curse,  to  judgment," 
etc.  On  returning,  she  found  a  patch  of  something  like 
blood  covering  this  very  text.  In  great  surprise,  she  car- 
ried the  book  home,  where  a  young  man  tasted  the  substance 
with  his  tongue,  and  found  it  of  a  saltless  or  insipid  flavor. 
On  the  two  succeeding  Sundays,  while  the  same  girl  was 
reading  the  Bible  in  the  open  air,  similar  blotches  of  matter, 
like  blood,  fell  upon  the  leaves.  She  did  not  perceive  it  in 
the  act  of  falling  till  it  was  about  an  inch  from  the  book. 
"It  is  not  blood,"  our  informant  adds,  "for  it  is  as  tough  as 

quescent  snow.  During  this  examination  our  hats  and  upper  gar- 
ments were  observed  to  be  daubed  with  a  substance  of  a  similar 
red  colour,  and  a  moment's  reflection  convinced  us  that  this  was  the 
excrement  of  the  little  Auk  (  Uria  alle,  Temmink),  myriads  of  which 
were  continually  flying  over  our  heads,  having  their  nests  among 
the  loose  masses  of  granite.  A  ready  explanation  of  the  origin  of 
the  red  snow  was  now  presented  to  us,  and  not  a  'doubt  remained  in 
the  mind  of  any  that  this  was  the  correct  one.  The  snow  on  the 
mountains  of  higher  elevation  than  the  nests  of  these  birds  was 
perfectly  white,  and  a  ravine  at  a  short  distance,  which  was  filled 
with  snow  from  top  to  bottom,  but  which  aiforded  no  hiding-place 
for  these  birds  to  form  their  nests,  presented  an  appearance  uni- 
formly white." 

This  testimony  seems  to  be  as  clear  and  indisputable  as  the  ex- 
planation given  by  Peiresc  of  the  ejecta  of  the  Butterflies  at  Aix. 
But  though  it  will  account,  perhaps,  for  the  red  snow  of  the  polar 
regions,  it  will  not  explain  that  of  the  Alps,  the  Apennines,  and 
the  Pyrenees,  which  are  not,  so  far  as  is  known,  visited  by  the  little 
Auk.— Vide  Ins.  Tram/.,  p.  352-5. 

1  Chamb.  Domes.  Annals  of  ScoU.,  ii.  199. 



glue,  and  will  not  be  scraped  off  by  a  knife,  as  blood  will ; 
but  it  is  so  like  blood,  as  none  can  discern  any  difTereuce  by 
the  colour."^ 

On  Tuesday,  Oct.  9th,  1*764,  "a.  kind  of  rain  of  a  red 
color,  resembling  blood,  fell  in  many  parts  of  the  Duchy  of 
Cleves,  which  caused  great  consternation.  M.  Bouman  sent 
a  bottle  of  it  to  Dr.  Schutte,  to  know  if  it  contained  any- 
thing pernicious  to  health.  Something  of  the  like  kind  fell 
also  at  Rhenen,  in  the  Province  of  Utrecht.'" 

Dr.  Schutte,  to  whom  was  submitted  a"  bottle  of  this  red 
rain,  gave  it  as  his  opinion  that  it  was  caused  by  particles 
of  red  matter,  which  had  been  raised  into  the  atmosphere  by 
a  strong  wind,  and  that  it  was  in  no  way  hurtful  to  mankind 
or  beasts  !^ 

In  1819,  a  red  shower  fell  in  Carniola,  which,  being 
analyzed,  says  Bucke,  was  found  to  be  impregnated  with 
silex,  alumine,  and  oxide  of  iron.  Red  rain  fell  also  at 
Dixmude,  in  Flanders,  November  2d,  1829;  and  on  the  fol- 
lowing day  at  Schenevingen,  the  acid  obtained  from  which 
was  chloric  acid,  and  the  metal  cobalt.^ 

In  the  year  1780,  Rombeag  noticed  a  shower  of  blood 
that  had  excited  universal  attention,  and  which  he  could 
satisfactorily  show  to  be  produced  by  the  flying  forth  and 
casting  of  bees,  as  the  phenomenon  in  the  place  around  the 
beehives  themselves  was  remarkably  striking.  From  this 
fact  it  is  evident  that  the  appearance  is  attributable  to  other 
insects  as  well  as  the  lepidoptera.^ 

Bloody  rain  has  also  been  attributed,  with  much  apparent 
reason,  to  other  causes  still,  as  the  following  accounts  from 
reliable  authorities  show : 

In  1848,  Dr.  Eckhard,  of  Berlin,  when  attending  a  case  of 
cholera,  found  potatoes  and  bread  within  the  house  spotted 
with  a  red  coloring  matter,  which,  being  forwarded  to  Eh- 
renberg,  was  found  by  him  to  be  due  to  the  presence  of  an 
animalcule,  to  which  he  gave  the  name  of  the  Jfonas  pro- 
digiosa.  It  was  found  that  other  pieces  of  bread  could  be 
inoculated  with  this  matter.*^ 

1  Chamb.  Domes.  Annals  of  Scotl,  ii.  447-8. 

2  Gent.  Mag.,  xxxiv.  496. 

3  Ibid.,  xxxiv.  542. 

*  Bucke  on  Nature,  i.  277. 

5  Brown's  Bk.  of  Butter  files,  i.  129. 

6  Chaiub.  Domes.  Annals  of  Scotl.,  ii.  448. 


Swammerdam  relates  that,  one  morning  in  1610,  great 
excitement  was  created  in  the  Hague  by  a  report  that  the 
lakes  and  ditches  about  Leyden  were  turned  to  blood. 
Florence  Schuyl,  the  celebrated  professor  of  physic  in  the 
University  of  Leyden,  went  down  to  the  canals,  and  taking 
home  a  quantity  of  this  blood-colored  matter  examined  it 
with  a  microscope,  and  found  that  the  water  was  water  still, 
and  had  not  at  all  changed  its  color  ;  but  that  it  was  full  of 
small  red  animals,  all  alive  and  very  nimble  in  their  motions, 
the  color  and  prodigious  numbers  of  which  gave  a  reddish 
tinge  to  the  whole  body  of  the  water  in  which  they  lived. 
The  animals  which  thus  color  the  water  of  lakes  and  ponds 
are  the  Pulices  ai^borescentes  of  Swammerdam,  or  the 
water  fleas  with  branched  horns.  These  creatures  are  of  a 
reddish  yellow  or  flame  color.  They  live  about  the  sides  of 
ditches,  under  weeds,  and  among  the  mud ;  and  are  there- 
fore the  less  visible,  except  at  a  certain  time,  which  is  in  the 
month  of  June.  It  is  at  this  time  these  little  animals  leave 
their  recesses  to  float  about  the  water,  and  meet  for  the 
propagation  of  their  species;  and  by  this  means  they  be- 
come visible  in  the  color  which  they  give  to  the  water.  The 
color  in  question  is  visible,  more  or  less,  in  one  part  or 
other  of  almost  all  standing  waters  at  this  season  ;  and  it  is 
always  at  the  same  season  that  the  bloody  waters  have 
alarmed  the  ignorant.^ 

The  prodigy,  mentioned  by  Livy,  of  a  stagnating  piece 
of  water  at  Mantua  appearing  as  of  blood,  was  no  doubt 
owing  to  the  appearance  of  great  numbers  of  the  Pulices 
arborescentes  in  it.^ 

Concerning  the  origin  of  bloody  rain,  Swammerdam  en- 
tertained the  same  idea  as  Peiresc ;  but  he  does  not  appear 

1  Swam.  Hist,  of  Lis.,  Pt.  I.  p.  40. 

2  Cf.  the  foUowiug  verses  from  Ex.  vii.  19:  <'And  the  Lobd  spake 
unto  Moses,  Say  unto  Aaron,  Take  thy  rod,  and  stretch  out  thine 
hand  upon  the  waters  of  Egypt,  upon  their  streams,  upon  their  rivers, 
and  upon  their  ponds,  and  upon  all  their  pools  of  water,  that  they 
may  become  blood;  and  that  there  may  be  blood  throughout  all  the 
land  of  Egypt,  both  in  vessels  of  wood  and  in  vessels  of  stone. 

"20.  And  Moses  and  Aaron  did  so,  as  the  Lord  commanded;  and 
he  lifted  up  the  rod,  and  smote  the  waters  that  were  in  the  river  in 
the  sight  of  Pharaoh,  and  in  the  sight  of  his  servants;  and  all  the 
waters  that  were  in  the  river  were  turned  to  blood." 


to  have  verified  it  from  his  own  observation.  He  makes 
the  fo]h)wing;  remarks:  "Is  it  not  possible  that  such  red 
drops  might  issue  from  insects,  at  the  time  they  come  fresh 
from  the  nymphs,  which  distil  a  bloody  fluid  ?  This  seems 
to  happen  especially  when  such  insects  are  more  than  ordi- 
narily multiplied  in  any  particular  year,  as  we  often  expe- 
rience in  the  butterflies,  flies,  gnats,  and  others."^ 

Dust  is  commonly  attributed  as  the  cause  of  this  phe- 
nomenon, but  will  satisfactorily  explain  only  a  few  instances. 
A  writer  for  Chambers'  Journal,  in  an  article  on  showers  of 
red  dust,  bloody  rain,  etc.,  says  :  "  In  October,  1846,  a  fear- 
ful and  furious  hurricane  visited  Lyon,  and  the  district  be- 
tween that  city  and  Grenoble,  during  which  occurred  a  fall 
of  blood-rain.  A  number  of  drops  were  caught  and  pre- 
served, and  when  the  moisture  was  evaporated,  there  was 
seen  the  same  kind  of  dust  (as  fell  in  showers  in  Genoa  in 
1846)  of  a  yellowish  brown  or  red  color.  When  placed 
under  the  microscope,  it  exhibited  a  great  proportion  of 
fresh  water  and  marine  formations.  Phytolytharia  were 
numerous,  as  also  * neatly-lobed  vegetable  scales;'  which,  as 
Ehrenberg  observes,  is  sufficient  to  disprove  the  assertion 
that  the  substance  is  found  in  the  atmosphere  itself,  and  is 
not  of  European  origin.  For  the  first  time,  a  living  organ- 
ism was  met  with,  the  'Eunoia  amphyoxis,  with  its  ovaries 
green,  and  therefore  capable  of  life.'  Here  was  a  solution 
of  the  mystery  :  the  dust,  mingling  with  the  drops  of  water 
falling  from  the  clouds,  produced  the  red  rain.  Its  appear- 
ance is  that  of  reddened  water,  and  it  cannot  be  called 
blood-like  without  exaggeration."^ 

To  conclude  the  history  of  bloody  rain,  the  following  is 
most  appropriate  :  In  1841,  some  negroes,  in  Wilson  County, 
Tennessee,  reported  that  it  had  rained  blood  in  the  tobacco 
field  where  they  had  been  at  work ;  that  near  noon  there 
was  a  rattling  noise  like  rain  or  hail,  and  drops  of  blood, 
as  they  supposed,  fell  from  a  red  cloud  that  was  flying  over. 
Prof.  Troost,  of  Nashville,  was  called  upon  to  explain  the 
phenomenon  ;  and,  after  citing  many  instances  of  red  rain, 
red  snow,  and  so  called  showers  of  Ijlood,  he  concluded  his 
learned  article  with  this  opinion:    "A  wind  might  have 

1  Swam.  nist.  of  his.  ^  Pt.  I.  p.  40. 

2  Chamb.  Journ.,  2d  S.  xvii.  231. 


taken  up  part  of  an  animal,  which  was  in  a  state  of  decom- 
position, and  have  brought  it  in  contact  with  an  electric 
cloud,  in  which  it  was  kept  in  a  state  of  partial  fluidity  or 
vicosity.  In  this  case,  the  cloud  which  was  seen  by  the  ne- 
groes, as  the  state  in  which  the  materials  were,  is  accounted 

Prof.  Troost  published  this  profound  solution  in  the  forty- 
first  volume  of  Silliman's  Journal ;  but  in  the  forty-fourth 
of  the  same  magazine  a  much  more  satisfactory  one  is  given, 
for  it  is  there  stated  "  that  the  whole  affair  was  a  hoax  de- 
vised by  the  negroes,  who  pretended  to  have  seen  the  shower 
for  the  sake  of  practicing  on  the  credulity  of  their  masters. 
They  had  scattered  the  decaying  flesh  of  a  dead  hog  over 
the  tobacco  leaves."^ 

Another  phenomenon  to  be  particularly  noticed  in  the 
history  of  the  Butterflies,  is  their  appearance  at  certain 
times  in  countless  numbers  migrating  from  place  to  place. 
II.  Kapp,  a  writer  in  the  Naturfoi^sch,  observed  on  a  calm 
sunny  day  a  prodigious  flight  of  the  Cabbage-Butterfly, 
Fontia  hrassicde,  which  passed  from  northeast  to  south- 
west, and  lasted  two  hours.^  Kalm,  the  Swedish  traveler, 
saw  these  last  insects  midway  in  the  British  Channel.^ 
Lindley  tells  us  that  in  Brazil,  in  the  beginning  of  March, 
1803,  for  many  days  successively  there  was  an  immense 
flight  of  white  and  yellow  Butterflies,  probably  of  the  same 
tribe  as  the  Pontia  brassicas.  They  were  observed  never  to 
settle,  but  proceeded  in  a  direction  from  northwest  to  south- 
east. 'No  buildings  seemed  to  stop  them  from  steadily  pur- 
suing their  course  ;  which  being  to  the  ocean,  at  only  a 
small  distance,  they  must  all  have  inevitably  perished.  It  is 
to  be  remarked  that  at  this  time  no  other  kind  of  Butterfly 
was  to  be  seen,  though  the  country  usually  abounds  in  such 
a  variety.* 

A  somewhat  similar  migration  of  Butterflies  w^as  ob- 
served in  Switzerland  on  the  8th  or  10th  of  June,  1828. 
The  facts  are  as  follows  :  Madame  de  Meuron  Wolff  and 
her  family,  established  during  the  summer  in  the  district  of 

1  Sil.  Journ.,  xli.  403-4,  and  xliv.  216. 

2  JVaiurforsch,  xi.  94. 

3  Travels,  i.  13. 

^  Royal  Milit.  Chron.  for  March,  1815,  p.  452.     K.  and  S.  Introd. 
ii.  11. 



Grandson,  Canton  de  Yaud,  perceived  with  surprise  an  im- 
mense flight  of  Butterflies  traversing  the  garden  with  great 
rapidity.  They  were  all  of  the  species  called  Belle  Dame 
by  the  French,  and  by  the  English  the  Painted  Lady  {Va- 
nessa ca7^dui,  Stephens).  They  were  all  flying  close  to- 
gether in  the  same  direction,  from  south  to  north,  and  were 
so  little  afraid  when  any  one  approached,  that  they  turned 
not  to  the  right  or  to  the  left.  The  flight  continued  for 
two  hours  without  interruption,  and  the  column  was  about 
ten  or  fifteen  feet  broad.  They  did  not  stop  to  alight  on 
flowers ;  but  flew  onward,  low  and  equally.  This  fact  is 
the  more  singular,  when  it  is  considered  that  the  larvoe  of  the 
Vanessa  car  did  are  not  gregarious,  but  are  solitary  from 
the  moment  they  are  hatched  ;  nor  are  the  Butterflies  them- 
selves usually  found  together  in  numbers.  Professor  Bo- 
nelli,  of  Turin,  however,  observed  a  similar  flight  of  the 
same  species  of  Butterflies  in  the  end  of  March  preceding 
their  appearance  at  Grandson,  when  it  may  be  presumed 
they  had  just  emerged  from  the  pupa  state.  Their  flight, 
as  at  Grandson,  was  from  south  to  north,  and  their  numbers 
were  so  immense,  that  at  night  the  flowers  were  literally 
covered  with  them.  As  the  spring  advanced,  their  numbers 
diminished  ;  but  even  in  June  a  few  still  continued.  A  simi- 
lar flight  of  Butterflies  is  recorded  about  the  end  of  the 
last  century  by  M.  Loche,  in  the  Memoirs  of  the  Turin 
Academy.  During  the  whole  season,  these  Butterflies,  as 
well  as  their  larvae,  were  very  abundant,  and  more  beautiful 
than  usual. ^ 

Pallas  once  saw  such  vast  flights  of  the  orange-tipped  But- 
terfly, Pontia  cay^damines,  in  the  vicinity  of  Winofka,  that 
he  at  first  mistook  them  for  flakes  of  snow.^  At  Barbados, 
some  days  previous  to  the  hurricane  in  1780,  the  trees  and 
shrubs  were  entirely  covered  with  a  species  of  Butterfly  of 
the  most  beautiful  colors,  so  as  to  screen  from  the  sight  the 
branches,  and  even  the  trunks  of  the  trees.  In  the  after- 
noon before  the  gale  came  on,  and  when  it  was  quite  still, 
they  all  suddenly  disappeared.  The  gale  came  on  soon 
after.^  Darwin  tells  us  that  several  times,  when  the  "Beagle" 

1  Mag.  of  Nat.  Hist.,  i.  387,  and  Mem.  de  la  Soc.  de  Phys.  et  d'llist. 
Nat.  de  Geiiive. 

2  Penny  Mag.,  1844,  p.  3. 

3  Gent.  Mag.,  liv.  744. 


had  been  some  miles  off  the  month  of  the  Plata,  and  at  other 
times  when  off  the  shores  of  Northern  Patagonia,  the  air 
was  filled  with  insects  :  that  one  evening,  when  the  ship  was 
about  ten  miles  from  the  Bay  of  San  Bias,  vast  numbers  of 
Butterflies,  in  bands  or  flocks  of  countless  myriads,  extended 
as  far  as  the  eye  could  range.  The  seamen  cried  out  "  It 
was  raining  Butterflies,"  and  such  in  fact,  continues  Darwin, 
was  the  appearance.  Several  species  were  in  this  flock,  but 
they  were  chiefly  of  a  kind  very  similar  to,  but  not  identical 
with,  the  common  English  Colias  edusa.  Some  moths  and 
hymenopterous  insects  accompanied  the  Butterflies ;  and  a 
fine  beetle  (Calosoma)  flew  on  board.^  Captain  Adams 
mentions  an  extraordinary  flight  of  small  Butterflies,  with 
spotted  wings,  which  took  place  at  Annamaboo,  on  the 
Guinea  coast,  after  a  tornado.  The  wind  veered  to  the 
northward,  and  blew  fresh  from  the  land,  with  thick  mist, 
which  brought  off  from  the  shore  so  many  of  these  insects, 
that  for  one  hour  the  atmosphere  was  so  filled  with  them  as 
to  represent  a  snow-storm  driving  past  the  vessel  at  a  rapid 
rate,  which  was  lying  at  anchor  about  two  miles  from  the 

Mr.  Charles  J.  Anderson  encountered,  in  South-western 
Africa,  for  two  consecutive  days,  such  immense  myriads  of 
lemon-colored  Butterflies  that  the  sound  caused  by  their 
wings  was  such  as  to  resemble  "the  distant  murmuring  of 
waves  on  the  sea-shore."  They  always  passed  in  the  same 
direction  as  the  wind  blew,  and,  as  numbers  were  constantly 
alighting  on  the  flowers,  their  appearance  at  such  times  was 
not  unlike  "  the  falling  of  leaves  before  a  gentle  autumnal 

In  Bermuda,  October  10,  184T,  the  Butterfly,  Terias  lisa 
of  Boisduval,  suddenly  appeared  in  great  abundance,  hun- 
dreds being  seen  in  every  direction.  Previous  to  that  occa- 
sion, Mr.  Hurdis,  the  observer  of  this  flight,  had  never  met 
with  this  Butterfly.  In  the  course  of  a  few  days,  they  had 
all  disappeared.^ 

In  Ceylon,  in  the  months  of  April  and  May,  migrations 
of  Butterflies  (mostly  the  Gallidryas  hilarias,  C.  alcmeone, 
and  G.  pyranthe,  with  straggling  individuals  of  the  genus 

1  Researches,  ch.  viii.  p.  158. 

2  Brown's  Bk.  of  Butter f.,  p.  101. 

3  Lake  Nyami,  p.  267. 

*  Naturalist  in  Bermuda,  p.  120. 


Euplcea,  E.  coras,  and  E.  pro(hoe)  are  quite  frequent. 
Their  passage  is  generally  in  a  northeasterly  direction.  The 
flights  of  these  delicate  insects  appear  to  the  eye  of  a  white 
or  pale  yellow  hue,  and  apparently  to  extend  miles  in 
breadth,  and  of  such  prodigious  length  as  to  occupy  hours, 
and  even  days,  in  their  uninterrupted  passage.  A  friend  of 
Tennent,  traveling  from  Kandy  to  Kornegalle,  drove  for 
nine  miles  through  such  a  cloud  of  white  Butterflies,  which 
was  passing  across  the  road  by  which  he  went.  Whence 
these  immense  numbers  of  Butterflies  come  no  one  knows, 
and  whither  going  no  one  can  tell.  But  the  natives  have  a 
superstitious  belief  that  their  flight  is  ultimately  directed  to 
Adam's  Peak,  and  that  their  pilgrimage  ends  on  reaching 
that  sacred  mountain.^ 

Moufet  says  :  "Wert  thou  as  strong  as  Milo  or  Hercules, 
and  wert  fenced  or  guarded  about  with  an  host  of  giants  for 
force  and  valour,  remember  that  such  an  army  was  put  to 
the  worst  by  an  army  of  Butterflies  flying  in  troops  in  the 
air,  in  the  year  1104,  and  they  hid  the  light  of  the  sun  like 
a  cloud.  Licosthenes  relates,  that  on  the  third  day  of  Au- 
gust, 1543,  that  no  hearb  was  left  by  reason  of  their  multi- 
tudes, and  they  had  devoured  all  the  sweet  dew  and  natural 
moisture,  and  they  had  burned  up  the  very  grasse  that  was 
consumed  with  their  dry  dung."  ^ 

The  most  beautiful  as  well  as  pleasing  emblem  among  the 
Egyptians  was  exhibited  under  the  character  of  Psyche — 
the  Soul.  This  was  originally  no  other  than  a  Butterfly : 
but  it  afterwards  was  represented  as  a  lovely  female  child 
with  the  beautiful  wings  of  that  insect.  The  Butterfly,  after 
its  first  and  second  stages  as  an  egg  and  larva,  lies  for  a 
season  in  a  manner  dead;  and  is  inclosed  in  a  sort  of  coffin. 
In  this  state  it  remains  a  shorter  or  longer  period ;  but  at 
last  bursting  its  bonds,  it  comes  out  with  new  life,  and  in 
the  most  beautiful  attire.  The  Egyptians  thought  this  a 
very  proper  picture  of  the  soul  of  man,  and  of  the  immor- 
tality, to  which  it  aspired.  But  they  made  it  more  particu- 
larly an  emblem  of  Osiris  ;  who  having  been  confined  in  an 
oak  or  coffin,  and  in  a  state  of  death,  at  last  quitted  his 
prison,  and  enjoyed  a  renewal  of  life.'^     This  symbol  passed 

1  Tennent's  Nat.  Hist,  of  Ceylon,  ch.  xii.  p.  407. 

2  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  107.    Topsd's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  974. 

3  Bryant's  Anct.  Mijthol.,  ii.  386. 


over  to  the  Greeks  and  Romans,  who  also  considered  the 
Butterfly  as  the  symbol  of  Zephyr.^ 

Among  the  coats  of  arms  of  several  of  our  most  celebra- 
ted tribes  of  Indians,  Baron  Lahontan  mentions  one,  that 
of  the  ''Illinese,"  which  bore  a  beech-leaf  with  a  Butterfly 

The  sight  of  a  trio  of  Butterflies  is  considered  an  omen 
of  death. ^     An  English  superstition. 

If  a  Butterfly  enters  a  house,  a  death  is  sure  to  follow 
shortly  in  the  family  occupying  it;  if  it  enters  through  the 
window,  the  death  will  be  that  of  an  infant  or  very  young 
person.  As  far  as  I  know  this  superstition  is  peculiar  to 

If  a  Butterfly  alights  upon  your  head,  it  foretells  good 
news  from  a  distance.  This  superstition  obtains  in  Penn- 
sylvania and  Maryland. 

The  first  Butterfly  seen  in  the  summer  brings  good  luck 
to  him  who  catches  it.    This  notion  prevails  in  New  York. 

In  Western  Pennsylvania,  it  is  believed  that  if  the  chrysa- 
lides of  Butterflies  be  found  suspended  mostly  on  the  under 
sides  of  rails,  limbs,  etc.,  as  it  were  to  protect  them  from 
rain,  that  there  will  soon  be  much  rain,  or,  as  it  is  termed,  a 
"rainy  spell";  but,  on  the  contrary,  if  they  are  found  on 
twigs  and  slender  branches,  that  the  weather  will  be  dry  and 

Du  Halde  and  Grosier  tell  us  that  the  Butterflies  of  the 
mountain  of  Lo-few-shan,  in  the  province  of  Quang-tong, 
China,  are  so  much  esteemed  for  their  size  and  beauty,  that 
they  are  sent  to  court,  where  they  become  a  part  of  certain 
ornaments  in  the  palaces.  The  wings  of  these  Butterflies 
are  very  large,  and  their  colors  surprisingly  diversified  and 
lively.*  Dionysius  Kao,  a  native  of  China,  also  remarks,  in 
his  Geographical  Description  of  that  Empire,  that  the  But- 
terflies of  Quang-tong  are  generally  sent  to  the  emperor,  as 
they  fo^m  a  part  of  the  furniture  of  the  imperial  cabinets.^ 

Osbeck  says  the  Chinese  put  up  insects  in  boxes  made 
of  coarse  wood,  without  covering,  and  lined  with  paper, 

1  Fosbroke,  Encycl.  of  Antiq.,  ii.  738. 

2  Travels.     He  doubtless  refers  to  an  Indian  totem. 
^  N.  and  Q.,  iii.  4. 

*  Du  Halde,  China,  p.   21-2;    Grosier's   China,  i.  570;    Williams' 
3Iid.  Kingd.,  i.  273;  Astley's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  iv.  512. 
^  Harris's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  ii.  987. 


which  they  cany  round  to  sell ;  each  box  bringing  half  a 
piastre.  Of  tlic  Butterflies,  which  were  the  principal  in- 
sects thus  sold,  he  enumerates  twenty-one  species.^ 

The  Chinese  children  make  Butterflies  of  paper,  with 
which  "  they  play  after  night  by  sending  them,  like  kites, 
into  the  air."^ 

We  learn  from  Captain  Stedman,  that  even  in  the  forests 
of  Guiana,  some  people  make  Butterfly-catching  their  busi- 
ness, and  obtain  much  money  by  it.  They  collect  and 
arrange  them  in  paper  boxes,  and  send  them  off  to  the  dif- 
ferent cabinets  of  Europe.^ 

Butterflies  are  now  extensively  worn  by  French  and 
American  ladies  on  their  head-dresses. 

From  the  relations  of  Sir  Anthony  Shirley,  quoted  in 
Burton's  Anatomy  of  Melancholy,'^  we  learn  that  the  kings 
of  Persia  were  wont  to  hawk  after  Butterflies  with  sparrows 
and  stares,  or  starlings,  trained  for  the  purpose ;  and  Ave 
are  also  told  that  M.  de  Luisnes  (afterward  Prime  Min- 
ister of  France),  in  the  nonage  of  Louis  XIII. ,  gained  much 
upon  him  by  making  hawks  catch  little  birds,  and  by  mak- 
ing some  of  those  little  birds  again  catch  Butterflies.^ 

In  the  Zoological  Journal,  No.  13,  it  is  recorded  that  at 
a  meeting  of  the  Linn^ean  Society,  March  11,  1832,  Mr. 
Stevens  exhibited  a  remarkable  freak  of  nature  in  a  speci- 
men of  Vanessa  urtica,  which  possessed  five  wings,  the 
additional  one  being  formed  by  a  second,  but  smaller, 
hinder  wing  on  one  side.*^ 

J.  A.  de  Mandelsloe,  who  made  a  voyage  to  the  East 
Indies  in  1639,  tells  us  that  not  far  from  the  Fort  of  Ter- 
nate  grows  a  certain  shrub,  called  by  the  Indians  Catopa, 
from  which  falls  a  leaf,  which,  by  degrees,  is  supposed  to  be 
metamorphosed  into  a  Butterfly^ 

De  Pauw  tells  us  that,  not  long  before  his  time,  the 
French  peasants  entertained  a  kind  of  worship  for  the  chry- 
salis of  the  caterpillar  found  on  the  great  nettle  (the  pupa 
of  Vanessa  cardai?),  because  they  fcincied  that  it  revealed 
evident  traces  of  Divinity ;  and  quotes  M.  Des  Landes  in 

1  Osbeck,  Travels,  i.  331.  2  ji^i^^  i.  324, 

3  Stedman,  Surinam,  i.  279.    Cf.  Bancroft,  Guiana,  p.  229. 

^  Anat.  of  Melanch.,  1G51,  p.  208. 

5  Life  of  Lord  Herbert  of  Cherbury,  p.  134, 

6  The  Mirror,  xxv.  IGO. 

T  Harris's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  i.  790. 


saying  that  the  curates  had  even  ornamented  the  altars 
with  these  pupse.^ 

The  Butterfly  (Ang.  Sax.  Buttor-fleoge,  or  Buter-flege)  is 
so  named  from  the  common  yellow  species,  or  from  its  ap- 
pearing in  the  butter  season.  Its  German  names  are  Schmet- 
terliiig,  from  schmetten,  cream  ;  and  Molkendieh,  the  Whey- 
thief.  The  association  with  milk  in  its  three  forms,  in  butter, 
cream,  and  whey,  is  remarkable. 

The  African  ]3ushmen  eat  the  caterpillars  of  Butterflies  ; 
and  the  Natives  of  New  Holland  eat  the  caterpillars  of  a 
species  of  Moth,  and  also  a  kind  of  Butterfly,  which  they 
call  Bugong,  which  congregates  in  certain  districts,  at  par- 
ticular seasons,  in  countless  myriads.  On  these  occasions 
the  native  blacks  assemble  from  far  and  near  to  collect  them  ; 
and  after  removing  the  wings  and  down  by  stirring  them  on 
the  ground,  previously  heated  by  a  large  fire,  winnowing 
them,  eat  the  bodies,  or  store  them  up  for  use,  by  pounding 
and  smoking  them.  The  bodies  of  these  Butterflies  abound 
in  oil,  and  taste  like  nuts.  When  first  eaten,  they  produce 
violent  vomitings  and  other  debilitating  eS'ects ;  but  these 
go  off  lifter  a  few  days,  and  the  natives  then  thrive  and 
fatten  exceedingly  on  this  diet,  for  which  they  have  to  con- 
tend with  a  black  crow,  which  is  also  attracted  by  the  Butter- 
flies, and  which  they  dispatch  with  their  clubs  and  use  also 
as  food. 

Another  practice  in  Australia  is  to  follow  up  the  flight  of 
the  Butterflies,  and  to  light  fires  at  nightfall  beneath  the 
trees  in  which  they  have  settled.  The  smoke  brings  the 
insects  down,  when  their  bodies  are  collected  and  pounded 
together  into  a  sort  of  fleshy  loaf  ^ 

Bennet  tells  us  the  larva  of  a  Lepidopterous  insect  (the 
Bugong  f)  that  destroys  the  green- wattle  {Acacia  decar- 
rens)  is  much  sought  after,  and  considered  a  delicacy,  by 
the  blacks  of  Australia.  These  people  eat  also  the  pink 
grubs  found  in  the  wattle-trees,  either  roasted  or  uncooked. 
Europeans,  who  have  tasted  of  this  dish,  say  it  is  not  dis- 

Swammerdam,  treating  of  the  metamorphoses  of  larvse 
into  pupae  and  thence  into  perfect  insects,  makes  the  following 

1  Egypt,  and  Chinese,  ii.  106. 

2  Simmoncrs  Curios,  of  Food,  p.  312. 

3  Gatherings  of  a  Nat.  in  Austral.,  p.  288. 


curious  comparison:  "The  worms,  after  tlie  manner  of  the 
brides  in  Holland,  shut  themselves  up  for  a  time,  as  it  were 
to  prepare,  and  render  themselves  more  amiable,  when  they 
are  to  meet  the  other  sex  in  the  field  of  Hymen. "^ 

Sphingidae — Hawk-moths. 

To  the  superstitious  imaginations  of  the  Europeans,  the 
conspicuous  markings  on  the  back  of  a  large  evening  moth, 
the  Sphinx  Atropos,  represent  the  human  skull,  with  the 
thigh-bones  crossed  beneath  ;  hence  is  it  called  the  Death's- 
head  Moth,  the  Death's-head  Fhojitom,  the  Wandering 
Death-bird,  etc.  Its  cry,^  which  closely  resembles  the  noise 
caused  by  the  creaking  of  cork,  or  the  plaintive  squeaking 
of  a  mouse,  certainly  more  than  enough  to  frighten  the 
ignorant  and  superstitious,  is  considered  the  voice  of  anguish, 
the  moaning  of  a  child,  the  signal  of  grief;  and  it  is  regarded 
"not  as  the  creation  of  a  benevolent  being,  but  as  the  device 

1  Hist,  of  Ins.,  p.  3. 

2  Reaumur  considers  this  cry  to  be  produced  by  the  friction  of  the 
palpi  against  the  proboscis  [Memoires,  ii.  293).  Huber,  but  without 
mentioning  the  particulars,  says  he  has  ascertained  that  Reaumur 
was  quite  mistaken  [On  Bees,  p.  313,  note),  Schroeter  ascribes  the 
sound  to  the  rubbing  of  the  tongue  against  the  head;  and  Rosel  to 
the  friction  of  the  chest  upon  the  abdomen,  M.  de  Johet  tliinks  it 
is  produced  by  the  air  being  suddenly  propelled  against  these  scales 
by  the  action  of  the  wings.  M.  Lori-y  states  that  the  sound  arises 
from  the  air  escaping  rapidly  through  peculiar  cavities  communica- 
ting with  the  spiracles,  and  furnished  with  a  fine  tuft  of  hairs  on  the 
sides  of  the  abdomen  (Cuv.  An.  Kingd. — Ins.,  ii.  G78).  Mr.  E.  L. 
Layard  seems  to  be  of  the  same  opinion  (Tennent's  Nat.  Hist,  of 
Ceylon, -p.  427).  But  M.  Passerini,  curator  of  the  Museum  of  Nat. 
Hist,  at  Florence,  has  lately  investigated  the  subject  more  minutely. 
He  traced  the  origin  of  the  sound  to  the  interior  of  the  head,  in 
which  he  discovered  a  cavity  at  the  passage  where  muscles  are  placed 
for  impelling  and  expelling  the  air.  M.  Dumeril  has  since  discovered 
a  sort  of  membrane  stretched  over  this  cavity,  like,  as  he  says,  to  the 
head  of  a  drum.  M.  Duponchel  has  also  confirmed  by  experimeut 
the  opinions  of  Passerini  and  Dumeril,  and  confutes  Lorry,  whose 
notion  was  generally  adopted,  by  stating  that  the  noise  is  produced 
from  the  head  when  the  body  of  the  insect  is  removed  [Annates  dcs 
Sci.  Nat,  Mars.,  1828). 



of  evil  spirits" — spirits,  enemies  to  man,  conceived  and 
fabricated  in  the  dark ;  and  the  very  shining  of  its  eyes  is 
supposed  to  represent  the  fiery  element  whence  it  is  thought 
to  have  proceeded.  Flying  into  their  apartments  in  the 
evening,  it  at  times  extinguishes  the  light,  foretelling  war, 
pestilence,  famine,  and  death  to  man.  The  sudden  appear- 
ance of  these  insects,  vi^e  are  informed  by  Latrielle,  during 
a  season  while  the  people  were  suffering  from  an  epidemic 
disease,  tended  much  to  confirm  the  notions  of  the  supersti- 
tious in  that  district,  and  the  disease  was  attributed  by  them 
entirely  to  their  visitation.^  Jaeger  says,  at  a  very  recent 
day,  that  this  large  Moth  first  attracted  his  "attention  during 
the  prevalence  of  a  severe  and  fatal  epidemic,  and  of  course 
nothing  more  was  necessary  than  its  appearance  at  such  a 
time  to  induce  an  ignorant  people  to  believe  it  the  veritable 
prophet  and  forerunner  of  death.  A  curate  in  Bretagne, 
France,"  continues  this  author,  "made  a  most  horrible  and 
fear-exciting  description  of  this  animal,  describing  the  very 
loud  and  dreadful  sound  which  it  emitted  as  a  sort  of  lam- 
entation for  the  awful  calamity  which  was  coming  on  the 
earth. "^  Eeaumur  informs  us  that  all  the  members  of  a 
female  convent  in  France  were  thrown  into  the  greatest 
consternation  at  the  appearance  of  one  of  these  insects,  which 
happened  to  fly  in  during  the  evening  at  one  of  the  windows 
of  the  dormitory.^ 

In  the  Isle  of  France,  the  natives  believe  that  the  dust 
(scales)  cast  from  the  wings  of  the  Death's-head  Moth,  in 
flying  through  an  apartment,  is  productive  of  blindness  to 
the  visual  organs  on  which  it  falls.* 

There  is  a  quaint  superstition  in  England  that  the  Death's- 
head  Moth  has  been  very  common  in  Whitehall  ever  since 
the  martyrdom  of  Charles  I.^ 

Illustrative  of  the  tough  texture  of  the  skin  with  which 
many  soft  larv^  are  provided  for  protection,  the  following 
may  be  instanced  :  Bonnet  squeezed  under  water  the  cater- 
pillar of  the  privet  Hawk-moth,  Sphinx  ligustris,  till  it 
was  as  flat  and  empty  as  the  finger  of  a  glove,  yet  within  an 

1  Cf.  Penny  Enajcl.,  sub.  Sphinx,  and  The  Mirror,  xix.  212, 

'^  Hist   of  Ins.,  p.  191. 

3  Reaumur,  ii.  289.     Shaw,  ZooL,  vi.  217. 

*  Saturday  Mag.,  xix.  102. 

5  Notes  and  Queries,  xii.  200. 



hour  it  became  plump  and  lively  as  if  nothing  had  hap- 

The  name  Sphinx  is  applied  to  this  genus  of  insects  from 
a  fancied  resemblance  between  the  attitude  assumed  by  the 
larva)  of  several  of  the  larger  species,  when  disturbed,  and 
that  of  the  Egyptian  Sphinx. 

Bombicidse — Silk-worm  Moths. 

The  notices  of  the  cultivation  of  the  mulberry  and  the 
rearing  of  Silk-Avorms,  found  in  Chinese  works,  have  been 
industriously  collected  and  published  by  M.  Julien,  by  or- 
der of  the  French  government.  From  his  work  it  appears 
that  credible  notices  of  the  culture  of  the  tree  and  the  manu- 
facture of  silk  are  found  as  far  back  as  B.C.  780;  and  in 
referring  its  invention  to  the  Empress  Siling,  or  Yuenfi, 
wife  of  the  Emperor  Hwangti,  B.C.  2602  (Du  Halde  says 
2698),  the  Chinese  have  shown  their  belief  of  its  still  higher 
antiquity.     The  Shi  King  contains  this  distich  : 

The  legitimate  wife  of  Hwangti,  named  Siling  Shi,  began  to  rear 

Silk- worms: 
At  this  period  Hwangti  invented  the  art  of  making  clothing. 

Du  Halde  says  this  invention  raised  the  Empress  to  the 
rank  of  a  divinity,  under  the  title  of  Spirit  of  the  Silk- 
worm, and  of  the  Mulberry-tree.^ 

The  Book  of  Kites  contains  a  notice  of  the  festival  held 
in  honor  of  this  art,  which  corresponds  to  that  of  plowing  by 
the  emperor.  "In  the  last  month  of  spring,  the  young  em- 
press purified  herself  and  offered  sacrifice  to  the  goddess  of 
Silk-worms.  She  went  into  the  eastern  fields  and  collected 
mulberry-leaves.  She  forbade  noble  dames  and  the  ladies 
of  statesmen  adorning  themselves,  and  excused  her  attend- 
ants from  their  sewing  and  embroidery,  in  order  that  they 
might  give  all  their  care  to  the  rearing  of  Silk-worms."^ 

^  Bonnet,  (Euvres,  ii.  124. 

2  China,  p.  253.     Astley's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  iv.  138. 

'  Williams'  Middle  Kingdom,  ii.  121-2. 


The  manufacture  of  silk  has  been  known  in  India  from 
time  immemorial,  it  being  mentioned  in  the  oldest  Sanscrit 
books.^  It  is  the  opinion  of  modern  writers,  however,  that 
the  culture  of  the  Silk- worm  passed  from  China  into  India, 
thence  through  Persia,  and  then,  after  the  lapse  of  several 
centuries,  into  Europe.  But  long  before  this,  wrought  silk 
had  been  introduced  into  Greece  from  Persia.  This  was 
effected  by  the  army  of  Alexander  the  Great,  about  the 
year  323  before  Christ. 

The  Greeks  fabled  silk  to  have  first  been  woven  in  the 
Island  of  Cos  by  Pamphila,  the  daughter  of  Plateos.^  Of 
its  true  origin  they  were,  in  a  great  measure,  ignorant,  but 
seem  to  have  been  positive  that  it  was  the  work  of  an  in- 
sect. Pausanias  thus  describes  the  animal  and  its  culture: 
"But  the  thread,  from  which  the  Ceres  (an  Ethiopian  race) 
make  garments,  is  not  produced  from  a  tree,  but  is  procured 
by  the  following  method  :  A  worm  is  found  in  their  country 
which  the  Greeks  call  Seer,  but  the  Ceres  themselves,  by  a  dif- 
ferent name.  This  worm  is  twice  as  large  as  a  beetle,  and,  in 
other  respects,  resembles  spiders  which  weave  under  trees. 
It  has,  likewise,  eight  feet  as  well  as  the  spider.  The 
Ceres  rear  these  insects  in  houses  adapted  for  this  purpose 
both  to  summer  and  winter.  What  these  insects  produce 
is  a  slender  thread,  which  is  rolled  round  their  feet.  They 
feed  them  for  four  years  on  oatmeal ;  and  on  the  fifth  (for 
'they  do  not  live  beyond  five  years)  they  give  them  a  green 
reed  to  feed  on :  for  this  is  the  sweetest  of  all  food  to  this 
insect.  It  feeds,  therefore,  on  this  till  it  bursts  through 
fullness,  and  dies :  after  which,  they  draw  from  its  bowels 
a  great  quantity  of  thread."^ 

Aristotle  seems  to  have  had  a  much  clearer  idea  of  the 
origin  of  silk,  for  he  says  it  was  unwound  from  the  pupa 
(he  does  not  expressly  say  the  pupa,  but  this  we  must 
suppose)  of  a  large  horned  caterpillar.*  The  larva  he  means 
could  not,  however,  be  the  common  Silk-worm,  since  it  is 
rather  small  and  without  horns. 

Pliny,  who,  most  probably,  obtained  the  most  of  his  ideas 
from  Pausanias  and  Aristotle,  was  of  opinion  that  silk  was 

1  Colebrook,  Asiat.  RcsPMrch.,  v.  Gl. 

2  Aristotle,  v.  17-9.     Pliny,  ix.  20. 

3  Paus.  Hist,  of  Greece,  B.  6,  c.  26. 
*  Aristot.  Hist.  An.,  v.  19. 


the  produce  of  a  worm  which  built  clay -nests  and  collected 
wax.  At  first  these  worms,  he  says,  assume  the  appear- 
ance of  small  butterflies  with  naked  bodies,  but  soon  after, 
being  unable  to  endure  the  cold,  they  throw  out  bristly 
hairs,  which  assume  quite  a  thick  coat  against  the  winter, 
by  rubbing  off  the  down  that  covers  the  leaves,  by  the  aid 
of  the  roughness  of  their  feet.  This  they  compress  into 
balls  by  carding  it  with  their  claws,  and  then  draw  it  out 
and  hang  it  between  the  branches  of  the  trees,  making  it 
fine  by  combing  it  out,  as  it  were  :  last  of  all,  they  take  and 
roll  it  round  their  body,  thus  forming  a  nest  in  which  they 
are  enveloped.  It  is  in  this  state  that  they  are  taken  ;  after 
which  they  are  placed  in  earthen  vessels  in  a  warm  place, 
and  fed  upon  bran.  A  peculiar  sort  of  down  soon  shoots 
forth  upon  the  body,  on  being  clothed  with  which  they  are 
sent  to  work  upon  another  task.^ 

The  first  kinds  of  silk  dresses  worn  by  the  Koman  ladies 
were  from  the  Island  of  Cos,  and,  as  Pliny  says,  were  known 
by  the  name  of  Coae  vestes.^  These  dresses,  of  which  Pliny 
says  in  such  high  praise,  "that  while  they  cover  a  woman, 
they  at  the  same  time  reveal  her  charms,"  were  indeed  so 
fine  as  to  be  transparent,  and  were  sometimes  dyed  purple, 
and  enriched  with  stripes  of  gold.  They  had  their  name 
from  the  early  reputation  which  Cos  acquired  by  its  manu- 
facture of  silk.  But  silk  was  a  very  scarce  article  among 
the  Romans  for  many  ages,  and  so  highly  prized  as  to  be 
valued  at  its  weight  in  gold.  Yospicius  informs  us  that 
the  Emperor  AureKan,  who  died  a.d.  125,  refused  his  em- 
press a  robe  of  silk,  which  she  earnestly  solicited,  merely  on 
account  of  its  dearness.  Galen,  who  lived  about  a.d.  HS, 
speaks  of  the  rarity  of  silk,  being  nowhere  then  but  at  Rome, 
and  there  only  among  the  rich.  Heliogabalus  is  said  to 
have  been  the  first  Roman  that  wore  a  garment  entirely  of 

We  learn  from  Tacitus,  that  early  in  the  reign  of  Tiberius, 
about  A.D.  IT,  the  Senate  enacted  ''that  men  should  not 
defile  themselves  by  wearing  garments  of  silk.  "^  Pliny  says, 
however,  that  in  his  time  men  had  become  so  degenerate  as 

1  Pliny,  Ifat.  Hist,  xi.  23. 

2  Ibid.,  xi.  22. 

3  Tacitus,  Ann.,  B.  2,  c.  33. 


to  not  even  feel  ashamed  to  wear  garments  of  this  mate- 

The  mode  of  producing  and  manufacturing  silk  was  not 
known  to  Europe  until  long  after  the  Christian  era,  being 
first  learned  about  the  year  555  by  two  Persian  monks,  who, 
under  the  encouragement  of  the  Emperor  Justinian,  pro- 
cured in  India  the  eggs  of  the  Silk-worm  Moth,  with  which, 
concealing  them  in  hollow  canes,  they  hastened  to  Con- 
stantinople. They  also  brought  with  them  instructions  for 
hatching  the  eggs,  rearing  and  feeding  the  worms,  and 
drawing,  spinning,  and  working  the  silk.'^ 

Erom  Constantinople,  the  culture  of  the  Silk-worm  spread 
over  Greece,  so  that  in  less  than  five  centuries  that  portion 
of  this  country,  hitherto  called  the  Peloponnesus,  changed 
its  denomination  into  that  of  Morea,  from  the  immense 
plantations  of  the  Morus  alba,  or  white  mulberry.^  Large 
manufactories  were  set  up  at  Athens,  Thebes,  and  Corinth. 
The  Yenetians,  soon  after  this,  commencing  a  commerce 
with  the  Grecians,  supplied  all  the  western  parts  of  Europe 
with  silks  for  many  centuries.  Several  kinds  of  modern 
silk  manufiictures,  such  as  damasks,  velvets,  satins,  etc., 
were  as  yet  unknown. 

About  the  year  1130,  Roger  II.,  King  of  Sicily,  having 
conquered  the  Peloponnesus,  transported  the  Silk-worms 
and  such  as  cultivated  them  to  Palermo  and  to  Calabria. 
Such  was  the  success  of  the  speculation  in  Calabria,  that  it 
is  doubtful  whether,  even  at  the  present  moment,  it  does  not 
produce  more  silk  than  the  whole  of  the  rest  of  Italy.* 

By  degrees  the  rest  of  Italy,  as  well  as  Spain,  learned 
from  the  Sicilians  and  Calabrians  the  management  of  Silk- 
worms and  the  working  of  silk;  and  at  length,  during  the 
wars  of  Charles  VIII.,  in  1499,  the  French  acquired  it,  by 
right  of  neighborhood,  and  soon  large  plantations  of  the 
mulberry  were  raised  in  Provence.     Henry  I.  is  reported 

1  Nat.  Hist,  xi.  22. 

2  Cf.  Gibbon's  Decl.  and  Fall  of  Rom.  Em.,  c.  40. 

3  Some  authors,  however,  assert  that  the  name-was  suggested  by 
the  resemblance  of  the  Morea  to  the  shape  of  the  mulberry-leaf,  a 
less  plausible  opinion  by  far  than  the  former. 

*  Thuanus,  in  contradiction  to  most  other  writers,  makes  the  manu- 
facture of  silk  to  be  introduced  into  Sicily  two  hundred  years  later, 
by  Robert  the  Wise,  King  of  Sicily  and  Count  of  Provence. 



to  Lave  been  the  first  French  king  who  wore  silk  stockings. 
The  invention,  however,  originally  came  from  Spain, 
whence  silk  stockings  were  brought  over  to  England  to 
Henry  YIII.  and  Edward  YI. 

It  is  stated,  that  at  the  celebration  of  the  marriage  between 
Margaret,  daughter  of  Henry  III.,  and  Alexander  III.  of 
Scotland,  in  the  year  1251,  a  most  extravagant  display  of 
magnificence  was  made  by  one  thousand  English  knights 
appearing  in  suits  of  silk.  It  appears  also  l)y  the  33d  of 
Henry  YI.,  cap.  5,  that  there  was  a  company  of  silk- 
women  in  England  as  early  as  the  year  1455  ;  but  these 
were  probably  employed  rather  in  embroidering  and  making 
small  haberdasheries,  than  in  the  broad  manufacture,  which 
was  not  introduced  till  the  year  1620. 

Sir  Thomas  Gresham,  in  a  letter  to  Sir  William  Cecil, 
Elizabeth's  great  minister,  dated  Antwerp,  April  30th, 
1560,  says :  "I  have  written  into  Spain  for  silk  hose  both 
for  you  and  my  lady,  your  wife,  to  whom,  it  may  please 
you,  I  ma}^  be  remembered."  These  silk  hose,  of  a  black 
color,  were  accordingly  soon  after  sent  by  Gresham  to 

Hose  were,  in  England,  up  to  the  time  of  Henry  YIII., 
made  out  of  ordinary  cloth  :  the  .King's  own  were  formed 
of  yard-wide  taffata.  It  was  only  by  chance  that  he  might 
obtain  a  pair  of  silk  hose  from  Spain.  His  son,  Edward  YI., 
received  as  a  present  from  Sir  Thomas  Gresham — Stow 
speaks  of  it  as  a  great  present — "a  pair  of  long  Spanish 
silk  stockings."  For  some  years  longer,  silk  stockings 
continued  to  be  a  great  rarity.  "In  the  second  year  of 
Queen  Elizabeth,"  says  Stow,  "her  silk- woman,  Mistress 
Montague,  presented  her  Majesty  with  a  pair  of  black  knit- 
silk  stockings  for  a  New-Year's  gift;  the  which,  after  a  few 
days'  wearing,  i^leased  her  Highness  so  well,  that  she  sent 
for  Mistress  Montague,  and  asked  her  where  she  had  them, 
and  if  she  could  help  her  to  any  more  ;  who  answered,  say- 
ing, 'I  made  them  very  carefully,  of  purpose  only  for  your 
Majesty,  and,  seeing  these  please  you  so  well,  I  will  pres- 
ently set  more  iji  hand.'  *Do  so,'  quoth  the  Queen,  'for 
indeed  I  like  silk  stockings  so  well,  because  they  are  pleas- 
ant, fine,  and  delicate,  that  henceforth  I  will  wear  no  more 

Burgon's  Life  of  Sir  Thomas  Gresham,  1839,  i.  110,  302. 


clotli  stockings.'  And  from  that  time  to  her  death  the 
Queen  never  wore  cloth  hose,  but  only  silk  stockings."^ 

James  I.,  while  King  of  Scotland,  is  said  to  have  once 
written  to  the  Earl  of  Mar,  one  of  his  friends,  to  borrow  a 
pair  of  silk  stockings,  in  order  to  appear  with  becoming 
dignity  before  the  English  Ambassador ;  concluding  his 
letter  with  these  words:  ''For  ye  would  not,  sure,  that 
your  King  should  appear  like  a  scrub  before  strangers." 
This  shows  the  great  rarity  of  silk  articles  at  that  period 
in  Scotland. 

In  1629,  the  manufacture  of  silk  was  become  so  consider- 
able in  London,  that  the  silk  trowstersof  the  city  and  parts 
adjacent  were  incorporated;  and  in  1661,  this  company  em- 
ployed above  forty  thousand  persons.  The  revocation  of 
the  Edict  of  Nantes,  in  1685,  contributed  in  a  great  degree 
to  promote  the  manufacture  of  this  article ;  and  the  inven- 
tion of  the  silk-throwing  machine  at  Derby,  in  1719,  added 
so  much  to  the  reputation  of  English  manufactures,  that 
even  in  Italy,  according  to  Keysler,  the  English  silks  bore 
a  higher  price  than  the  Italian. ^ 

Rev.  Stephen  Olin  tells  us  that  the  Mohammedans  of 
Arabia  will  not  allow  strangers  to  look  into  their  cocoon- 
eries, on  account  of  their  superstitious  fear  of  the  evil  eye, 
of  the  influence  of  which  the  Silk- worms  are  thought  to  be 
peculiarly  susceptible.^ 

The  silk  of  the  nests  of  the  social  caterpillar  of  the 
Bomhyx  Madrona,  was  an  object  of  commerce  in  Mexico  in 
the  time  of  Montecusuma;  and  the  ancient  Mexicans  pasted 
together  the  interior  layers,  which  may  be  written  upon 
without  preparation,  to  form  a  white,  glossy  pasteboard. 
Handkerchiefs  are  still  manufactured  of  it  in  the  Intendency 
of  Oaxaca.* 

A  complete  nest  of  these  Silk-worms,  called  in  Brazil 
sustillo,  was  sent  by  the  Academy  of  Sciences  and  Natural 
History  to  the  King  of  Spain.  The  naturalist,  Don  Antonio 
Pineda,  sent  also  a  piece  of  this  natural  silk  paper,  measuring 
a  yard  and  a  half,  of  an  elliptical  shape,  which,  however,  is 
peculiar  to  them  all.^ 

1  Stow's  Chronicle,  edit.  1631,  p.  887. 

2  Keysler,  Trav.,  i.  289. 

3  Olin,  Travels. 

*  Polit.  Essay  on  N.  Spain,  iii.  59. 

5  Skinner's  Fres.  Slate  of  Peru,  p.  346,  note.  Southey's  Hist,  of 
Brazil,  iii.  644.     Calancha's  Augustine  Hist,  of  Peru,  i.  66. 


The  Chinese  fix  on  rings  with  threads  the  females  of  two 
species  of  wild  Bomhijx,  whose  caterpillars  produce  silk, 
and  place  these  insects  on  a  tree,  or  on  some  body  situated 
in  the  open  air,  to  allow  the  males,  guided  by  their  scent,  to 
visit  them.^ 

''The  manner  of  the  Chinese  is,"  we  read  in  Purchas's 
Pilgrims,  "in  the  Spring  time  to  revive  the  Silke-worms 
(that  lye  dead  all  the  Winter)  by  laying  them  in  the  warme 
sunne,  and  (to  hasten  their  quickening,  that  they  may  sooner 
goe  to  worke)  to  put  them  into  bagges,  and  so  hang  them 
under  their  childrens  armes."^ 

In  China,  the  pupa3  of  the  Silk-worms  after  the  silk  is 
wound  ofi",  and  the  larvae  of  a  species  of  Sphinx-moth, 
furnish  articles  for  the  table,  and  are  considered  delicacies.^ 
The  natives  of  Madagascar,  who  eat  all  kinds  of  insects, 
consider  also  Silk-worms  a  great  luxury.* 

Aldrovandus  states  that  the  German  soldiers  sometimes 
fry  and  eat  Silk-worms.^ 

Dr.  James  says :  "  Silk-worms  dried,  and  reduced  to  a 
powder,  are,  by  some,  applied  to  the  crown  of  the  head  for 
removing  vertigos  and  convulsions.  The  silk,  and  case  or 
coat,  are  of  a  due  temperament  between  heat  and  cold,  and 
corroborate  and  recruit  the  vital,  natural,  and  animal 
spirits."*^  The  cocoons  are  also  the  basis  of  Goddard's 
Drops,  and  enter  into  several  other  compositions,  such  as 
the  Gonfectio  de  Hyacintho,  when  made  in  the  best  manner.^ 

With  respect  to  the  coloring  of  silk,  we  find  in  "  Tseen 
Tse  Wan,"  or  thousand  character  classic,  a  work  that  has 
been  a  school-book  in  China  for  the  last  1200  years,  that  an 
ancient  sage  by  the  name  of  Mih,  seeing  the  white  silk  col- 
ored, wept  on  account  of  its  original  purity  being  destroyed.^ 

Some  of  the  eggs  of  a  wild  species  of  Silk-worm  being 
sent  overland  from  China  to  Paris,  proved  a  source  of  con- 
siderable anxiety  to  different  parties  who  received  them 
during  the  transit,  the  instructions  on  the  box,  instead  of 

,  1  Cuvier,  An.  King. — Ins.^  ii.  634. 

2  nigrims,  iii.  442. 

3  Darwin,  Phytolog.,  p.  364.     Donovan's  Ins.  of  China,  p.  6. 
*  Hollman,  Travels,  p.  473. 

5  Donovan's  Ins.  of  China,  p.  6. 

6  Med.  Diet. 

■^  Geoifroy,  Treat,  on  Subst.  used  in  Physic,  p.  383. 
8  Twelve  Years  in  China,  p.  14. 

BOMBICIDiE — SILK- WORM   MOTHS.  '     241 

simply  stating  that  it  contained  the  eggs  of  the  wild  Silk- 
worm Moth,  was  couched  in  the  following  manner  by  the 
Trench  savant  who  forwarded  them  :  "  Must  be  kept  far  from 
the  engines  ;  this  box  contains  savage  worms. "^ 

About  twenty-five  years  ago,  during  a  mania  for  rearing 
Silk-worms,  to  meet  the  demand  for  the  eggs  of  these  in- 
sects, fish-spawn  was  distributed  throughout  the  country. 
The  humbug  was  quite  as  successful  as  it  was  curious. 

It  has  been  said  that  the  search  after  the  "  Golden  Fleece" 
may  be  ascribed  to  the  desire  to  obtain  silk.'^ 

As  a  protection  against  rifle-balls,  the  Chinese,  who  were 
engaged  in  the  rebellion  of  1853,  state  that  they  wore 
dresses  thickly  padded  with  floss  silk ;  they  said  that  while 
the  ball  had  a  twist  in  it,  revolving  in  its  course,  it  caught 
up  the  silk  and  fastened  itself  in  the  garment.  One  man 
declared  that  he  took  out  six  so  caught,  in  one  day,  after  a 
severe  fight.  They  said  the  dress  was  of  more  use  within  a 
hundred  yards  than  at  long  range,  when  the  ball  had  lost 
its  revolving  motion.^ 

Yaucanson,  the  inventor  of  the  famous  "  automaton  duck," 
to  revenge  himself  upon  the  silk-weavers  of  Lyons,  who  had 
stoned  him  because  he  attempted  to  simplify  the  ordinary 
loom,  is  said  to  have  invented  a  loom  on  which  a  donkey 
worked  silken  cloth.* 

The  following  curious  Welsh  epigram  on  the  Silk-worm 
is  composed  entirely  of  vowels,  and  can  be  recited  without 
closing  or  moving  lips  or  teeth ; 

O'i  wiw  wy  i  e  a,  a'i  weuaw 
O'i  wyau  y  weua ; 
E'  weua  ei  wi  aia', 
A'i  weuau  yw  ieuau  ia. 

I  perish  by  my  art ;  dig  mine  own  grave; 
I  spin  the  thread  of  life ;  my  death  I  weave.  ^ 

1  Twelve  Years  in  China,  p.  14.  2  md^ 

3  Ihid.,  p.  194. 

*  Memoires  of  Roht.  Iloudin,  p.  161, 

^  Mag.  of  Nat.  Hist,  vi.  9. 


Arctiidae — Wooly-bear  Moths. 

In  It 83,  the  larvae  of  the  Moth,  Arctia  chrysorrhcea, 
were  so  destructive  in  the  neighborhood  of  London  that 
subscriptions  were  opened  to  employ  the  poor  in  cutting  off 
and  collecting  the  webs ;  and  it  is  asserted  that  not  less  than 
eighty  bushels  were  collected  and  burnt  in  one  day  in  the 
parish  of  Clapham.  And  even  in  some  places  prayers  were 
offered  up  in  the  churches  to  avert  the  calamities  of  which 
they  were  supposed  by  the  ignorant  to  be  the  forerunner.^ 

If  a  caterpillar  spins  its  cocoon  in  a  house,  it  foretells  its 
desolation  by  death  ;  if  in  your  clothes,  it  warns  you  you 
will  wear  a  shroud  before  the  year  is  out.  This  supersti- 
tion obtains  in  the  Middle  States,  Virginia,  and  Maryland. 

If  Moths,  flying  in  a  candle,  put  it  out,  it  forebodes  a 
calamity  amounting  to  almost  death.  This  superstition  is 
pretty  general. 

Why  Moths  fly  in  a  candle  :  Kempfer  tells  us,  there  is 
found  in  Japan  an  insect,  which,  by  reason  of  its  incompar- 
able beauty,  is  kept  by  the  Japanese  ladies  among  the  curi- 
osities of  their  toilets.  He  calls  it  a  Night-fly,  and  describes 
it  as  being ''about  a  finger  long,  slender,  round-bodied,  with 
four  wings,  two  of  which  are  transparent  and  hid  under  a 
pair  of  others,  which  are  shining  as  it  were  polished,  and 
most  curiously  adorned  with  blue  and  golden  lines  and  spots." 
The  following  little  fable,  which  accounts  so  beautifully  for 
the  flying  of  Moths  in  a  candle,  owes  its  origin  to  the  unpar- 
alleled beauty  of  this  insect,  and  is  well  worthy  of  being 
preserved :  The  Japanese  say  that  all  other  Night-flies 
(Moths,  etc.)  fall  in  love  with  this  particular  one,  who,  to 
get  rid  of  their  importunities,  maliciously  bids  them,  under 
the  pretense  of  trying  their  constancy,  to  go  and  bring  to 
her  fire.  And  the  blind  lovers,  scrupling  not  to  obey  her 
command,  fly  to  the  nearest  fire  or  candle,  in  which  they 
never  fail  to  burn  themselves  to  death. ^ 

The  following  verses,  embodying  the  above  fable  (except 
in  several  minor  particulars)  are  from  the  pen  of  Mrs.  A.  L. 
Ruter  Dufour: 

1  Baird's  Fncycl.  of  Nat.  Set.     Shaw's  Zool,  vi.  229. 

2  Pinkerton's  Col.  of  Voy.  arid  Trav.,  vii.  705. 


One  summer  niglit,  says  a  legend  old, 

A  Moth  a  Firefly  sought  to  woo  : 
"Oh,  wed  me,  I  pray,  thou  bright  star-child, 

To  win  thee  there's  nothing  I'd  dare  not  do." 

"If  thou  art  sincere,"  the  Firefly  cried, 

"  Go — bring  me  a  light  that  will  equal  my  own  ; 

Not  until  then  will  I  deign  be  thy  bride ;" — 
Undaunted  the  Moth  heard  her  mocking  tone. 

Afar  he  beheld  a  brilliant  torch, 

Forward  he  dashed,  on  rapid  wing, 
Into  the  light  to  bear  it  hence ; — 

When  he  fell  a  scorched  and  blighted  thing. — 

Still  ever  the  Moths  in  hope  to  win. 
Unheeding  the  lesson,  the  gay  Firefly, 

Dash,  reckless,  the  dazzling  torch  within, 
And,  vainly  striving,  fall  and  die ! 

Washington,  D.  C,  June  24,  1864. 

Moufet  savs :  "Our  North,  as  well  as  our  West  coun- 
trymen, call  it  (the  Moth,  Phalaina)  Saule,  i.  e.  Psychen, 
Animam,  the  soul ;  because  some  silly  people  in  old  time 
did  fancy  that  the  souls  of  the  dead  did  fly  about  in  the 
night  seeking  light. "^  "Pliny  commends  a  goat's  liver  to 
drive  them  away,  yet  he  shews  not  the  means  to  use  it."^ 

One  of  the  most  highly  prized  curiosities  in  the  collec- 
tion of  Horace  Walpole,  was  the  silver  bell  with  which  the 
popes  used  to  curse  the  caterpillars.  This  bell  was  the 
work  of  Benvenuto  Cellini,  one  of  the  most  extraordinary 
men  of  his  extraordinary  age,  and  the  relievos  on  it  repre- 
senting caterpillars,  butterflies,  and  other  insects,  are  said 
to  have  been  wonderfully  executed.^ 

In  Purchas's  Pilgrims,  we  read  of  worms  being  sprinkled" 
with  holy  water  to  kill  them.'' 

Apuleius  says,  that  if  you  take  the  caterpillars  from 
another  garden,  and  boil  them  in  water  with  anethum,  and 
let  them  cool,  and  besprinkle  the  herbs,  you  will  destroy 
the  existing  caterpillars.^ 

1  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  88.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  958. 

2  Moufet,  p.  108.     Topsel,  p.  975. 

3  Monthly  Mag.,  7  (Pt.  I.)  xxxix.  1799. 
*  Pilgrims,  ii.  1034. 

^  Owen's  Geoponika,  ii.  99. 


Pliny  says,  that  "  if  a  woDian  having  a  catamenia  strips 
herself  naked,  and  walks  round  a  field  of  wheat,  the  cater- 
pillars, worms,  beetles,  and  other  vermin,  will  fall  off  the 
ears  of  the  grain!"  This  important  discovery,  according 
to  Metrodurus  of  Scepsos,  was  first  made  in  Cappadocia ; 
Avhere,  in  consequence  of  such  multitudes  of  "  Cantharides" 
being  found  to  breed  there,  it  was  the  practice  for  women  to 
walk  through  the  middle  of  the  fields  with  their  garments 
tucked  up  above  the  thighs.^  Columella^  has  described  this 
practice  in  verse,  and  ^lian^  also  mentions  it.  Pliny  says 
further  that  in  other  places,  again,  it  is  the  usage  of  women 
to  go  barefoot,  with  the  hair  disheveled  and  the  girdle  loose  : 
due  precaution,  however,  he  seriously  observes,  must  be 
taken  that  this  is  not  done  at  sunrise,  for  if  so  the  crop  will 
wither  and  dry  up.*  Apuleius,^  Columella,^  and  Palladius^ 
relate  the  same  story.  Constantinus,  likewise,  whose  verses, 
as  translated  in  Moufet's  Theater  of  Insects,  are  as  fol- 
lows : 

But  if  against  this  plague  no  art  prevail, 
The  Trojan  arts  will  do't,  when  others  fail. 
A  woman  barefoot  with  her  hair  untied, 
And  naked  breasts  must  walk  as  if  she  cried, 
And  after  Venus'  sports  she  must  surround 
Ten  times,  the  garden  beds  and  orchard  ground. 
When  she  hath  done,  'tis  wonderful  to  see, 
The  caterpillars  fall  off  from  the  tree, 
As  fast  as  drops  of  rain,  when  with  a  crook, 
For  acorns  or  apples  the  tree  is  shook. ^ 

This  remarkable  superstitious  remedy  for  destroying 
caterpillars  was  frequently  practiced  by  the  Indians  of 
America.  Schoolcraft,  treating  of  the  peculiar  supersti- 
tions connected  with  the  menstrual  lodge  of  these  people, 
says  : 

"This  superstition  does  not  alone  exert  a  malign  influ- 
ence, or  spell,  on  the  human  species.     Its  ominous  power, 

1  Pliny,  Nat.  Hist.,  xxviii.  7  (23). 

2  Col.  B.  X. 

3  /Elian,  B.  xi.  c.  3. 

*  Pliny,  Nat.  Hist.,  xxviii.  7  (23). 

^  Vide  Owen's  Geoponlka,  ii.  99. 

6  Col.  In  Hort.,  v.  357. 

T  Pallad.  B.  i.  c.  35. 

8  Theair.  Ins.,  p.  193.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  1041  and  670. 


or  charm,  is  equally  effective  on  the  animate  creation,  at 
least  on  those  species  which  are  known  to  depredate  on 
their  little  fields  and  gardens.  To  cast  a  protective  spell 
around  these,  and  secure  the  fields  against  vermin,  insects, 
the  sciurus,  and  other  species,  as  well  as  to  protect  the 
crops  against  blight,  the  mother  of  the  family  chooses  a 
suitable  hour  at  night,  when  the  children  are  at  rest  and 
the  sky  is  overcast,  and  having  completely  divested  herself 
of  her  garments,  trails  her  machecota  behind  her,  and  per- 
forms the  circuit  of  the  little  field.  "^ 

The  fat  of  bears,  says  Topsel,  "some  use  superstitiously 
beaten  with  oil,  wherewith  they  anoynt  their  grape-sickles 
when  they  go  to  vintage,  perswading  themselves  that  if 
nobody  know  thereof,  their  tender  vine-branches  shall  never 
be  consumed  by  caterpillars.  Others  attribute  this  to  the 
vertue  of  bears'  blood.  "^ 

Nicander  used  ''a  caterpillar  to  procure  sleep:  for  so  he 
writes ;  and  Hieremias  Martins  thus  translates  him : 

Stamp  but  with  oyl  those  worms  that  eat  the  leaves, 
Whose  backs  are  painted  with  a  greenish  hue, 

Anoint  jonv  body  with  't,  and  whilst  that  cleaves. 
You  shall  with  gentle  sleep  bid  cares  adieu. "^ 

Of  a  caterpillar  that  feeds  upon  cabbage  leaves,  the 
Eruca  officinalis  of  Schroder,  Dr.  James  says  :  **  Bruised, 
or  a  powder  of  them,  raise  a  blister  like  cantharides,  and 
take  off  the  skin.  Moufet  says,  they  will  cause  the  teeth 
to  fall  out  of  their  sockets,  and  Hippocrates  writes,  that 
they  are  good  for  a  Quinsey."* 

Psychidae — Wood-carryings  Moth,  etc. 

The  larvae  of  the  Wood-carrying  Moth  (of  the  genus 
Oiketicus,  ovEumeta,  Wlk.)  of  Ceylon,  surround  themselves 
with  case^made  of  stems  of  leav^,  and  thorns  or  pieces  of 

1  Hist,  of  Indians  of  U.  S.,  v.  p.  70. 

2  Rist.  of  Beasts,  p.  30. 

3  Moufet,  I'heair.  Lis.,  p.  194.  Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  pp.  670, 

*  Med.  Did. 



twigs  bound  together  by  threads,  till  the  whole  resembles  a 
miniature  Roman  fasces ;  in  fact,  an  African  species  of  these 
insects  has  obtained  the  name  of  "  Lictor."  The  Germans 
have  denominated  the  group  Sacktrdger,  and  the  Singhalese 
call  them  Darra-kattea  or  "billets  of  lire-wood,"  and  regard 
the  inmates,  Tennent  says,  as  human  beings,  who,  as  a  pun- 
ishment for  stealing  wood  in  some  former  state  of  exist- 
ence, have  been  condemned  to  undergo  a  metempsychosis 
under  the  form  of  these  insects.^ 

Noctuidae — Antler-moth,  Cut-worm,  etc. 

The  Antler-moth,  Noctua  graminis,  Linn.,  has  been  par- 
ticularly observed  in  Sweden,  Norway,  Northern  Germany, 
and  even  in  Greenland,  where  it  does  great  mischief  to 
grass-plots  and  meadows.  It  is  recorded  to  have  done 
very  great  injury  in  the  eastern  mountains  of  Georgenthal, 
as  well  as  at  Toplitz  in  Bohemia,  where  larvae  Avere  in  such 
large  numbers  that  in  four  days  and  a  half  200  men  found 
23  bushels  of  them,  or  4,500,000  in  the  60  bushels  of  mould 
which  they  examined.  In  Germany  it  seems  to  be  con- 
fined to  high  and  dry  districts,  and  it  never  appears  there 
in  wet  meadows,  but  its  devastations  are  sometimes  most 
extensive,  as  happened  in  the  Hartz  territor}^  in  1816  and 
'1*7,  when  whole  hills  that  in  the  evening  were  clad  in  the 
finest  green,  were  brown  and  bare  the  following  morning; 
and  such  vast  numbers  of  the  caterpillars  w^ere  there  that 
the  ruts  of  the  roads  leading  to  the  hills  were  full  of  them, 
and  the  roads  being  covered  with  them  were  even  rendered 
slippery  and  dirty  b}^  their  being  crushed  in  some  places.^ 

The  notorious  astrologer,  William  Lilly,  alluding  to  the 
comet  which  appeared  in  16*7t,  says:  ''AH  comets  signify 
wars,  terrors,  and  strange  events  in  the  world;"  and  gives 
the  following  curious  explanation  of  the  prophetic  nature  of 
these  bodies :  "  The  spirits,  well  knowing  what  accidents 
shall  come  to  pass,  do  form  a  star  or  comet,  and  give  it 

1  Tennent,  Nat.  Hist,  of  Ceylon,  p,  431. 

2  Kollar's  Treat,  on  Ins.,  Lond.  Trans.,  p.  105-36.     Curtis's  Farm 
Insects,  p.  507. 


what  figure  or  shape  they  please,  and  cause  its  motion 
through  the  air,  that  people  might  behold  it,  and  thence 
draw  a  signification  of  its  events."  Further,  a  comet  ap- 
pearing in  the  Taurus  portends  "mortality  to  the  greater 
part  of  cattle,  as  horses,  oxen,  cows,  etc.,"  and  also  "pro- 
digious shipwrecks,  damage  in  fisheries,  monstrous  floods, 
and  destruction  of  fruit  by  caterpillars  and  other  vermin."^ 

Josselyn,  in  the  account  of  his  voyage  to  New  England, 
printed  in  London  in  16 1 4,  has  the  following  relation  of  an 
insect  which  is  doubtless  a  species  of  Agrotis,  probably  the 
Agrotis  telifera:  "There  is  also  (in  New  England)  a  dark 
dunnish  Worm  or  Bug  of  the  bigness  of  an  Oaten-straw, 
and  an  inch  long,  that  in  the  Spring  lye  at  the  Root  of 
Corn  and  Garden  plants  all  day,  and  in  the  night  creep  out 
and  devour  them ;  these  in  some  years  destroy  abundance 
of  Indian  Corn  and  Garden  plants,  and  they  have  but  one 
way  to  be  rid  of  them,  which  the  English  have  learned  of 
the  Indians ;  And  because  it  is  somewhat  strange,  I  shall 
tell  you  how  it  is,  they  go  out  into  a  field  or  garden  with  a 
Birchen-dish,  and  spudling  the  earth  about  the  roots,  for 
they  lye  not  deep,  they  gather  their  dish  full  which  may 
contain  a  quart  or  three  pints,  then  they  carrie  the  dish  to 
the  Sea-side  when  it  is  ebbing  water  and  set  it  a  swimming, 
the  water  carrieth  the  dish  into  the  Sea,  and  within  a  day 
or  two  you  go  into  your  field  you  may  look  your  eyes  out 
sooner  than  find  any  of  them."^ 

The  Army-worm  (larva  of  Leucania  unipunctata  of 
Ha  worth),  during  this  our  great  rebellion,  is  thought,  by 
many  persons  in  Western  Pennsylvania,  to  prognosticate 
the  success  or  defeat  of  our  armies  by  the  direction  it  travels. 
If  toward  the  North,  the  South  will  be  victorious;  and  if 
toward  the  South,  the  North  will  conquer.  An  old  gentle- 
man, who  believes  that  a  frog's  foot  drawn  in  chalk  above 
the  door  will  keep  away  witches,  tells  me  this  worm  invari- 
ably travels  southward. 

This  larva  was  noticed  but  a  few  years  before  the  war 
began,  and  then  appearing,  as  it  were,  in  armies,  it  was 
called  the  Army-worm.  The  superstitious  omen  from  it 
has  followed  not  preceded  the  name. 

Lindenbrog,   in   his   Codex   Legum   Antiquarum,  cum 

1  Lilly's  Prophetical  Merliii,  pub.  in  1644. 

2  Josselyn's  Vov.,  p.  116. 


Glossario,  fol.  Francof.  1613,  mentions  the  following  super- 
stition :  "  The  peasants,  in  many  places  in  Germany,  at  the 
feast  of  St.  John,  bind  a  rope  around  a  stake  drawn  from  a 
hedge,  and  drive  it  hither  and  thither,  till  it  catches  fire. 
This  they  carefully  feed  with  stubble  and  dry  wood  heaped 
together,  and  they  spread  the  collected  ashes  over  their  pot- 
herbs, confiding  in  vain  superstition,  that  by  this  means 
they  can  drive  away  Canker-worms.  They  therefore  call 
this  Nodfeur,  q.  necessary  fire^ 

These  fires  were  condemned  as  sacrilegious,  not  as  if  it 
had  been  thought  that  there  was  anything  unlawful  in 
kindling  a  fire  in  this  manner,  but  because  it  was  kindled 
with  a  superstitious  design.  They  are,  however,  Du  Cange 
saj^s,  still  kindled  in  France,  on  the  eve  of  St.  John's  day.^ 

Geometridse — Span-worms. 

The  Measuring-worm,  crawling  on  your  clothes,  is 
thought  to  foretell  a  new  suit;  on  your  hands,  a  pair  of 
gloves,  etc. 

Tineidse — Clothes'-moth,  Bee-moth,  etc. 

In  Newton's  Journal  of  the  Arts  for  December,  182Y, 
there  is  the  following  mention  of  a  new  kind  of  cloth  fabri- 
cated by  insects  :  The  larvce  of  the  Moth,  Tinea  punctata, 
or  T.  padilla,  have  been  directed  by  M.  Habenstreet,  of 
Munich,  so  as  to  work  on  a  paper  model  suspended  from  a 
ceiling  of  a  room.  To  this  model  he  can  give  any  form  and 
dimensions,  and  he  has  thus  been  enabled  to  obtain  square 
shawls,  an  air  balloon  four  feet  high,  and  a  woman's  com- 
plete robe,  with  the  sleeves,  but  without  seams.  One  or 
two  larva?  can  weave  a  square  inch  of  cloth.  A  great  num- 
ber are,  of  course,  employed,  and  their  motions  are  inter- 
dicted from  the  parts  of  the  model  not  to  be  covered,  by 
oiling   them.      The  cloth  exceeds  in  fineness  the  lightest 

1  Jamieson's  Scot.  Diet.,  ii,  144. 




gauze,  and  has  been  worn  as  a  robe  over  her  court  dress  by 
the  Queen  of  Bavaria.^ 

Authors  are  of  opinion  that  the  ancients  possessed  some 
secret  for  preserving  garments  from  the  Moth,  Tinia  tajDet- 
zella.  We  are  told  the  robes  of  Servius  Tullius  were  found 
in  perfect  preservation  at  the  death  of  Sejanus,  an  interval 
of  more  than  five  hundred  years.  Pliny  gives  as  a  precau- 
tion "to  lay  garments  on  a  coffin;"  others  recommend  "can- 
tharides  hung  up  in  a  house,  or  wrapping  them  in  a  lion's 
skin" — "the  poor  little  insects,"  says  Reaumur,  "being 
probably  placed  in  bodily  fear  of  this  terrible  animal."^ 

Moufet  says  :  "They  that  sell  woollen  clothes  use  to  wrap 
up  the  skin  of  a  bird  called  the  king's-fisher  among  them, 
or  else  hang  one  in  the  shop,  as  a  thing  by  a  secret  antipa- 
thy that  Moths  cannot  endure."^ 

Among  the  various  contrivances  resorted  to  as  a  safe- 
guard against  the  Bee-moth,  Galleria  cereana,  Fabricius, 
perhaps  the  most  ingenious  is  that,  mentioned  by  Lang- 
stroth,  of  "governing  the  entrances  of  all  the  hives  by  a 
long  lever-like  hen-roost,  so  that  they  may  be  regularly 
closed  by  the  crowing  and  cackling  tribe  when  they  go  to 
bed  at  night,  and  opened  again  when  they  fly  from  their 
perch  to  greet  the  merry  morn."* 

An  intelligent  man  informed  Langstroth  that  he  paid  ten 
dollars  to  a  "Bee-quack"  professing  to  have  an  infallible 
secret  for  protecting  Bees  against  the  Moth ;  and,  after  the 
quack  had  departed  with  his  money,  learned  that  the  secret 
consisted  in  "always  keeping  strong  stocks."^ 

1  Maff.  of  Nat.  Hist.,  i.  66. 

2  Harper's  New  Monthly  Mag.,  xxii.  41. 

3  Theair.  Ins.,  p.  274.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  1100. 

4  On  the  Honey-Bee,  p.  248. 
^  Ibid.,  p.  238,  note. 




Cicadidae — Harvest-flies. 

The  Cicadas,  G.  plebeja,  Linn.,  called  by  the  ancient 
Greeks,  (by  whom,  as  well  as  by  the  Chinese,  they  were  kept 
in  cages  for  the  sake  of  their  song,)  Teltix,  seem  to  have  been 
the  favorites  of  every  Grecian  bard,  from  Homer  and  He- 
siod  to  Anacreon  and  Theocritus.  Supposed  to  be  per- 
fectly harmless,  and  to  live  only  upon  dew,  they  were  ad- 
dressed by  the  most  endearing  epithets,  and  were  regarded 
as  almost  divine.     Thus  sings  the  muse  of  Anacreon  : 

Happy  creature  !  what  below 
Can  more  happy  live  than  thou? 
Seated  on  thy  leafy  throne, 
Summer  weaves  thy  verdant  crown. 
Sipping  o'er  the  pearly  lawn, 
The  fragrant  nectar  of  the  dawn, 
Little  tales  thoii  lov'st  to  sing, 
Tales  of  mirth — an  insect  king. 
Thine  the  treasures  of  the  field, 
All  thy  own  the  seasons  yield ; 
Nature  paints  thee  for  the  year, 
Songster  to  the  shepherds  dear; 
Innocent,  of  placid  fame, 
What  of  man  can  boast  the  same? 
Thine  the  loudest  voice  of  praise, 
Harbinger  of  fruitful  days; 
Darling  of  the  tuneful  nine, 
Phoebus  is  thy  sire  divine; 
Phoebus  to  thy  note  has  given 
Music  from  the  spheres  of  heaven; 
Happy  most  as  first  of  earth, 
All  thy  hours  are  peace  and  mirth; 
Cares  nor  pains  to  thee  belong. 
Thou  alone  art  ever  young. 
Thine  the  pure  immortal  vein. 
Blood  nor  flesh  thy  life  sustain; 
Rich  in  spirits — health  thy  feast, 
Thou  art  a  demi-god  at  least. 




But  the  old  witticism,  attributed  to  the  incorrigible  Kho- 
dian  sensualist,  Xenarchus,  gives  quite  a  different  reason  to 
account  for  the  supposed  happiness  of  these  insects: 

Happy  the  Cicadas'  lives, 

Since  they  all  have  voiceless  wives !  * 

Plutarch,  reasoning  upon  that  singular  Pythagorean  pre- 
cept which  forbid  the  wife  to  admit  swallows  in  the  house, 
remarks:  "Consider,  and  see  whether  the  swallow  be  not 
odious  and  impious  ....  because  she  feedeth  upon  flesh, 
and,  besides,  killeth  and  devoureth  especially  grasshoppers 
(Cicadas),  which  are  sacred  and  musical."^ 

The  Athenians  were  so  attached  to  the  Cicadas,  that 
their  elders  were  accustomed  to  fasten  golden  images  of 
them  in  their  hair.  Thucidides  incidentally  remarks  that 
this  custom  ceased  but  a  little  before  his  time.  He  adds, 
also,  that  the  fashion  prevailed,  too,  for  a  long  time  with 
the  elders  of  the  lonians,  from  their  affinity  to  the  Athe- 

This  singular  form,  for  their  ornamental  combs,  seems  to 
have  been  adopted  originally  from  the  predilection  of  the 
Athenians  for  whatever  bore  any  affinity  to  themselves,  who 
boasted  of  being  autochthones  or  aboriginal.  It  is  sung  of 
the  Athenians : 

Blithe  race !  whose  mantles  were  bedeck'd 

With  golden  grasshoppers,  in  sign  that  they 

Had  sprung,  like  those  bright  creatures,  from  the  soil 

Whereon  their  endless  generations  dwelt. 

Mr.  Michell  supposes  the  Athenians  to  have  imitated  in 
this  instance  their  prototypes,  the  Egyptians ;  for  as  they, 
he  adds,  wore  their  favorite  symbol,  the  Scaraba^us,  in  this 
manner,  so  Attic  pride  set  up  a  rival  in  the  head-dress  thus 
introduced  by  Cecrops  and  his  followers.'^ 

From  a  very  ancient  writer,^  we  have  similar  ornaments 

1  It  is  a  philosophical  fact  that  the  female  Cicadas  are  not  capable 
of  making  any  noise — the  above  distich  evinces  its  early  discovery. 

2  Symposiaques.  B.  8.   Holl.  Trans.,  p.  C30. 

3  Thuc.  B.  1,  vi.  (Bohn's  ed.). 
*  On  Aristoph.,  Ve^p.  230. 

^  Cited  by  Athen.,  625. 


ascribed  to  the  Samians.     They  also  most  probably  derived 
this  fashion  from  the  early  Athenians.^ 

It  seems,  from  the  following  lines  of  Asius,^  that  Cicadas 
were  also  worn  as  ornaments  on  dresses ; 

Clad  in  magnificent  robes,  whose  snow-white  folds 
Reach'd  to  the  ground  of  the  extensive  earth, 
And  golden  knobs  on  them  like  grasshoppers. 

The  sound  of  the  Cicada  and  that  of  the  harp  were  called 
by  the  Greeks  by  one  and  the  same  name ;  and  a  Cicada 
sitting  upon  a  harp  was  the  usual  emblem  of  the  science  of 
music.  This  was  accounted  for  by  the  following  very  pleas- 
ing and  elegant  tale  :  Two  rival  musicians,  Eunomis  of 
Locris  and  Aristo  of  Rhegium,  when  alternately  playing 
upon  the  harp,  the  former  was  so  unfortunate  as  to  break  a 
string  of  his  instrument,  and  by  which  accident  would  cer- 
tainly have  lost  the  prize,  when  a  Cicada,  flying  to  him  and 
sitting  upon  his  harp,  supplied  the  place  of  the  broken 
string  with  its  melodious  voice,  and  so  secured  to  him  an 
easy  victory  over  his  antagonist.^ 

To  excel  the  Cicada  in  singing  was  the  highest  com- 
mendation of  a  singer,  and  the  music  of  Plato's  eloquence 
was  only  comparable  to  the  voice  of  this  insect.  Homer 
compared  his  good  orators  to  the  Cicada,  "which,  in  the 
woods,  sitting  on  a  tree,  send  forth  a  delicate  voice. "^  But 
Yirgil  speaks  of  them  as  insects  of  a  disagreeable  and 
stridulous  tone,  and  accuses  them  of  bursting  the  very 
shrubs  w^ith  their  noise, — 

Et  cantu  querulae  nimpent  arbusta  Cicadas. ^ 

Moufetsays :  "  The  Cicadas,  abounding  in  the  end  of  spring,       jj 

1  Cicada-combs  are  alluded  to  in  Aristoph.,  Eq.  1331.  Cf.  also 
Philostr.  Imag.,  p.  837.  Heracl.  Pont.,  cited  by  Athen.,  p.  512. 
Bloomfield's  Thucid.,  1.  14. 

2  Cited  by  Athen.,  p.  842  (Bohn's  ed.). 

3  Strabo,  Geoff.  B.  G. 

*  Iliad,  iii.  152.      Buckley's  translation,  p.  53. 

5  Georg.  iii.  328.  Cf.  Bucol.  ii.  Sir  J.  E.  Smith,  Tour.,  iii.  95, 
says  also  that  the  common  Italian  species  makes  a  most  disagreeable 
and  dull  chirping.  The  Cicadas  of  Africa,  it  is  said,  may  be  heard 
half  a  mile  oiF;  and  the  sound  of  one  in  a  room  will  put  a  whole 
company  to  silence.  Thunberg  asserts  that  those  of  .Java  utter  a 
sound  as  shrill  and  piercing  as  that  of  a  trumpet.  Captain  Hancock 
informed  Messrs.  Kirby  and  Spcnce  that  the  Brazilian  Cicadas  sing 


do  foretel  a  sickly  year  to  come,  not  that  they  are  the  cause 
of  putrefaction  in  themselves,  but  only  shew  plenty  of  putrid 
matter  to  be,  when  there  is  such  store  of  them  appear. 
Oftentimes  their  coming  and  singing  doth  portend  the 
happy  state  of  things :  so  also  says  Theocritus.  Niphus 
saith  that  what  year  but  few  of  them  are  to  be  seen,  they 
presage  dearness  of  victuals,  and  scarcity  of  all  things 


"The  Egyptians,  by  a  Cicada  painted,  understood  a 
priest  and  an  holy  man ;  the  latter  makers  of  hieroglyphics 
sometimes  will  have  them  to  signifie  musicians,  sometimes 
pratlers  or  talkative  companions,  but  very  fondly.  How 
ever  the  matter  be,  the  Cicada  hath  sung  very  well  of  her- 
self, in  my  judgement,  in  this  following  distich : 

Althougli  I  am  an  insect  vei^y  small, 

Yet  with  great  virtue  am  endow'd  withall."! 

Sir  G.  Staunton,  in  his  account  of  China,  remarks :  "  The 
shops  of  Hai-tien,  in  addition  to  necessaries,  abounded  in 
toys  and  trifles,  calculated  to  amuse  the  rich  and  idle  of 
both  sexes,  even  to  cages  containing  insects,  such  as  the 
noisy  Cicada,  and  a  large  species  of  the  Gryllus.  "^ 

S.  Wells  Williams  tells  us  that  the  Chinese  boys  often 
capture  the  male  Cicada  of  their  country,  and  tie  a  straw 
around  the  abdomen,  so  as  to  irritate  the  sounding  appa- 
ratus, and  carry  it  through  the  streets  in  this  predicament, 
to  the  great  annoyance  of  every  one,  for  the  stridulous 
sound  of  this  insect  is  of  deafening  loudness.^ 

When  in  Quincy,  Illinois,  in  the  summer  of  1864,  I  was 
shown  by  a  boy  a  toy,  which  he  called  a  ''  Locust,"  with 
which  he  imitated  the  loud  rattling  noise  of  the  Cicada 
septemdecim  with  great  accuracy.  It  consisted  of  a  horse- 
as  loud  as  to  be  heard  at  the  distance  of  a  mile.  Introd.,  ii,  400. 
The  sound  of  our  American  species,  C.  septemdecim,  has  been  com- 
pared to  the  ringing  of  horse-bells.  The  tettix  of  the  Greeks,  says 
Dr.  Shaw,  Travels,  lid  edit.,  p.  18G,  must  have  had  quite  a  different 
voice,  more  soft  surely  and  more  melodious ;  otherwise  the  fine 
orators  of  Homer,  who  are  compared  to  it,  can  be  looked  upon  as 
no  better  than  loud,  loquacious  scolds. 

1  Theair.  Ins.,  p.  134.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  994. 

Vide  Pierius'  Mieroglyjjh.,  p.  270-1.  Initiatus  sacris;  Dicacita- 
tis  castigatio;  Vana  garrulitas;   Nobilitas  generis;   Musica. 

2  V.  2,  c.  4,  Donovan's  Ins.  of  China,  p.  32. 

3  Middle  Kingd. 


hair  tied  to  the  end  of  a  short  stick,  and  looped  in  a  cap  of 
stiff  writing-paper  placed  over  the  hole  of  a  spool.  To  make 
the  sound,  then,  the  toy  was  whirled  rapidly  through  the 
air,  when  the  stiff  paper  acted  as  a  sounding-board  to  the 
vibrating  hair. 

At  Surinam,  Madame  Merian  tells  us,  the  noise  of  the 
Cicada  tihicen  is  still  supposed  to  resemble  the  sound  of  a 
harp  or  lyre,  and  hence  called  the  Lierman — the  harper.^ 
Another  species,  in  Ceylon,  which  makes  the  forest  re-echo 
with  a  long-sustained  noise  so  curiously  resembling  that  of 
a  cutler's  wheel,  has  acquired  the  highly  appropriate  name 
of  the  Knife-grinder.'^ 

It  is  said  of  our  Cicada  septemdecim,  the  so-called,  but 
very  improperly,  "  Seventeen-year  Locust,"  that,  when  they 
first  leave  the  earth,  Avhen  they  are  plump  and  full  of  juices, 
they  have  been  made  use  of  in  the  manufacture  of  soap. 

The  larva  of  a  Chinese  species  of  Cicada,  the  Flata  lim- 
bata,  which  scarcely  exceeds  the  domestic  fly  in  size,  forms 
a  sort  of  grease,  which  adheres  to  the  branches  of  trees  and 
hardens  into  wax.  In  autumn  the  natives  scrape  this  sub- 
stance, which  they  call  Fela,  from  off  the  trees,  melt,  purify, 
and  form  it  into  cakes.  It  is  white  and  glossy  in  appear- 
ance, and,  when  mixed  with  oil,  is  used  to  make  candles, 
and  is  said  to  be  superior  to  the  common  w^ax  for  use.  The 
physicians  employ  it  in  several  diseases ;  and  the  Chinese, 
as  we  are  informed  by  the  Abbe  Crosier,  when  they  are 
about  to  speak  in  public,  or  when  any  occasion  is  likely  to 
occur  on  which  it  may  be  necessary  to  have  assurance  and 
resolution,  eat  an  ounce  of  it  to  prevent  swoonings  or  palpi- 
tations of  the  heart.^ 

On  the  large  cheese-like  cakes  of  this  wax,  hanging  in  the 
grocers'  and  tallow-chandlers'  shops  at  Hankow,  are  often 
seen  the  inscription  written:  "It  mocks  at  the  frost,  and 
rivals  the  snow."  The  price,  in  1858,  was  forty  dollars  a 
picul,  or  about  fifteei>  pence  a  pound.* 

The  Creeks,  notwithstanding  their  veneration  for  the 
Cicada,  made  these  insects  an  article  of  food,  and  accounted 
them  delicious.     Aristotle  says,  the  larva,  when  it  is  grown 

1  Surinam^  49. 

2  Tenuent,  Nal.  Hist,  of  Ceylon,  p.  432. 
s  Desc.  of  China,  i.  442. 

*  Olipbant's  Lord  Elgin's  Miss,  to  China,  p.  665. 


in  the  earth,  and  become  a  tettigometra  (pupa),  is  the  sweet- 
est ;  when  changed  to  the  tettix,  the  males  at  first  have  the 
best  flavor,  but  after  impregnation  the  females  are  preferred, 
on  account  of  their  white  ova.^  Athenseus  and  Aristophanes 
also  mention  their  being  eaten ;  and  JSlian  is  extremely 
angry  with  the  men  of  his  age  that  an  animal  sacred  to  the 
Muses  should  be  strung,  sold,  and  greedily  devoured.^  The 
Cicada  septemdecim,  Mr.  Colhnson  in  It 63  said,  was  eaten 
by  the  Indians  of  America,  who  plucked  off  the  wings  and 
boiled  them.^ 

Osbeck  tells  us  that  the  Cicada  chinensis,  along  with 
the  Buprestis  maxima,  and  several  species  of  Butterflies,  is 
made  an  article  of  commerce  by  the  Chinese,  being  sold  in 
their  shops.* 

FulgoridsB — Lantern-flies. 

The  Lantern-fly,  Fulgora  lanternaria  of  Linnoeus,  found  in 
many  parts  of  South  America,  is  supposed  to  emit  a  vivid  light 
from  the  large  hood,  or  lantern,  which  projects  from  its  body, 
and  to  be  frequently  serviceable  to  benighted  travelers  ;  hence 
the  specific  name,  lanternaria.  This  story  originated  about  a 
century  and  a  half  ago,  from  the  work  of  the  celebrated  Ma- 
dame Merian,  who  lived  several  years  in  Surinam.  Her  ac- 
count contains  the  following  anecdote :  ''  The  Indians  once 
brought  me,  before  I  knew  that  they  shone  by  night,  a  number 
of  these  Lantern-flies,  which  I  shut  up  in  a  wooden  box.  In 
the  night  they  made  such  a  noise  that  I  awoke  in  a  fright, 
and  ordered  a  hght  to  be  brought ;  not  knowing  whence  the 
noise  proceeded.  As  soon  as  we  found  that  it  came  from 
the  box,  we  opened  it ;  but  were  still  much  more  alarmed, 
and  let  it  fall  to  the  ground,  in  a  fright  at  seeing  a  flame  of 
fire  come  out  of  it ;  and  as  so  many  animals  as  came  out, 
so  many  flames  of  fire  appeared.     When  we  found  this  to 

1  Hist.  An.,  B.  5,  c.  24,  ^  3,  4.     Bohn's  edit. 

2  Cf.  Bochart,  Illeroz.,  ii.  491. 

3  Phil.  Trans.,  1763,  n.  10. 
*  Travels,  i.  331. 

Baird  says,  but  on  what  authority  he  does  not  state,  that  Cicadas 
are  frequently  to  be  seen  represented  on  the  Egyptian  monuments, 
and  are  said  to  be  emblems  of  the  ministers  of  religion. — Encycl.  of 
Nat.  Sci. 


be  the  case,  we  recoYered  from  our  fright,  and  again  col- 
lected the  insects,  highly  admiring  their  splendid  appear- 

Dr.  Darwin,  in  a  note  to  some  lines  relative  to  luminous 
insects,  in  his  poem,  the  Loves  of  the  Plants,  makes  Madame 
Merian  afiirm  that  she  drew  and  finished  her  figure  of  the 
insect  by  its  own  light.     This  story  is  without  foundation. 

The  Indians  of  South  America  say  and  believe  that  the 
Lyerman,  Cicada  tibicen,  is  clmnged  into  the  Lantern-fly; 
and  that  the  latter  emits  a  hght  similar  to  that  of  a  lantern.^ 

This  story  of  the  Lantern-fly  being  luminous  is  the  more 
remarkable  since  the  veracity  of  its  author  is  unimpeached. 
She  doubtless  has  confounded  it  with  the  Cucujus,  Elater 
noctilucus.  Donovan,  however,  states  that  the  Chinese 
Lantern-fly,  Fulgora  candelaria,  has  an  illuminated  appear- 
ance in  the  night.^ 

From  the  loud  noise  the  Lantern-fly  makes  at  night,  which 
is  said  to  be  somewhat  between  the  grating  of  a  razor- 
grinder  and  the  clang  of  cymbals,  it  is  called  by  the  Dutch, 
in  Guiana,  Scare-sleep.^  Ligon,  in  his  History  of  Barbados, 
printed  in  16*73,  probably  refers  to  this  insect,  when  he  says  : 
"  They  lye  all  day  in  holes  and  hollow  trees,  and  as 
soon  as  the  Sun  is  down  they  begin  their  tunes,  which  are 
neither  singing  nor  crying,  but  the  shrillest  voyces  that  ever 
I  heard ;  nothing  can  be  so  nearly  resembled  to  it,  as  the 
mouths  of  a  pack  of  small  beagles  at  a  distance."  This 
author,  however,  thought  this  sound  by  no  means  unpleasant. 
*'So  lively  and  chirping,"  he  continues,  "the  noise  is,  as 
nothing  can  be  more  delightful  to  the  ears,  if  there  were  not 
too  much  of  it,  for  the  musick  hath  no  intermission  till 
morning,  and  then  all  is  husht."^ 

^  Insects  of  Surinam,  p.  49. 

2  Jaeger,  Life  of  N.  A.  Ins.,  p.  73. 

3  Ins.  of  China,  p.  30.  That  the  Lantern-fly  emits  no  light,  see 
Diet  dllist.  Nat.;  M.  Richards'  statement  in  JEncyclop.,  art.  Fulgora; 
Berlin  Mag.,  i.  153 ;  Kirby  and  Spence,  Introd.,  ii.  414,  note;  Jaeger, 
qua  supra. 

*  Stcdman,  Surinam,  ii.  37. 
^  Hist,  of  Barbados,  p.  C5. 


Aphidse — Plant-lice. 

The  Aphides  are  remarkable  for  secreting  a  sweet,  viscid 
fluid,  known  by  the  name  of  Honey-dew,  the  origin  of  which 
has  puzzled  the  world  for  ages.  Pliny  says  "it  is  either  a 
certaine  sweat  of  the  skie,  or  some  unctuous  gellie  proceed- 
ing from  the  starres,  or  rather  a  liquid  purged  from  the  aire 
when  it  purifyeth  itself."^ 

Amyntas,  in  his  Stations  of  Asia,  quoted  by  Athenaeus, 
gives  a  curious  account  of  the  manner  of  collecting  this 
article,  which  was  supposed  to  be  superior  to  the  nectar  of 
the  Bee,  in  various  parts  of  the  East,  particularly  in  Syria. 
In  some  cases  they  gathered  the  leaves  of  trees,  chiefly  of 
the  linden  and  oak,  for  on  these  the  dew  was  most  abund- 
antly found,^  and  pressed  them  together.  Others  allowed  it 
to  drop  from  the  leaves  and  harden  into  globules,  which, 
when  desirous  of  using,  they  broke,  and,  having  poured 
water  on  them  in  wooden  bowls,  drank  the  mixture.  In 
the  neighborhood  of  Mount  Lebanon,  Honey-dew  was  col- 
lected plentifully  several  times  in  the  year,  being  caught  by 
spreading  skins  under  the  trees,  and  shaking  into  them  the 
liquid  from  the  leaves.  The  Dew  was  then  poured  into 
vessels,  and  stored  away  for  future  use.  On  these  occasions 
the  peasants  used  to  exclaim,  "  Zeus  has  been  raining 
honey  I'" 

In  the  Treasvrie  of  Avncient  and  Moderne  Times,  we 
read  :  "Galen  saith,  that  there  fell  such  great  quantity  of  this 
Dew  (in  his  time)  in  his  Countrey  of  Pergamus,  that  the 
Countrey  people  (greatly  delighted  therein)  gave  thankes 
therefor  to  lupiter.  JElianus  writeth  also  that  there  fell 
such  plenty  thereof  in  India,  in  the  Region  which  is  called 
Frasia,  and  so  moistened  the  Grasse,  that  the  Sheepe,  Kine, 
and  Goates  feeding  thereon,  yeelded  Milke  sweete  like  Hony, 
which  was  very  pleasing  to  drinke.  And  when  they  used 
that  Milke  in  any  disease,  they  needed  not  to  put  any  Hony 
therein,  to  the  end  it  should  not  corrupt  in  the  stomacke  : 
as   it  is   appointed    in   Hecticke    Feauers,    Consumption, 

1  Nat.  Hist.,  xi.  12.     Holl.  Trans.,  i.  315.  E. 

2  Theoph.  Hist.  Plant.,  iii.  7,  6.  Cf.  Hes.  0pp.  et  Dies,  232,  seq.  and 
Bacon,  Spl.  Sylvarum,  496. 

3  St.  John's  And.  Greeks,  ii.  299. 



Tisickes,  and  for  others  that  are  ulcered  in  the  intestines,  as 
is  confirmed  by  the  Histories  of  P  or  tug  all. "'^ 

The  Aphides,  like  many  other  insects,  sometimes  migrate 
in  clouds ;  and  among  other  instances  on  record  of  these 
migrations,  Mr.  White  informs  us  that  about  three  o'clock 
in  the  afternoon  of  the  first  of  August,  1785,  the  people  of 
the  village  of  Selborne  were  surprised  by  a  shower  of 
Aphides  which  fell  in  those  parts.  Persons  who  walked  in 
the  street  at  this  time  found  themselves  covered  with  them, 
and  they  settled  in  such  numbers  in  the  gardens  and  on  the 
hedges  as  to  blacken  every  leaf  Mr.  White's  annuals  were 
thus  all  discolored  with  them,  and  the  stalks  of  a  bed  of 
onions  were  quite  coated  over  for  six  days  afterward.  These 
swarms,  he  remarks,  were  then  no  doubt  in  a  state  of  emi- 
gration, and  might  have  come  from  the  great  hop  plantations 
of  Kent  and  Sussex,  the  wind  being  all  that  day  in  the  east. 
They  were  observed  at  the  same  time  in  great  clouds  about 
Farnham,  and  all  along  the  vale  from  Farnham  to  Alton. ^ 
A  similar  emigration  of  these  insects  Mr.  Kirby  once  wit- 
nessed, to  his  great  annoyance,  when  traveling  later  in  the 
year  in  the  Isle  of  Ely.  The  air  was  so  full  of  them,  that 
they  were  incessantly  flying  into  his  eyes  and  nostrils,  and 
his  clothes  were  covered  by  them;  and  in  1814,  in  the  au- 
tumn, the  Aphides  were  so  abundant  for  a  few  days  in  the 
vicinity  of  Ipswich,  as  to  be  noticed  with  surprise  by  the  most 
incurious  observers.^  Neither  Mr.  White  nor  Mr.  Kirby 
informs  us  what  particular  species  formed  these  immense 
flights,  but  it  is  most  probable  they  belonged  to  the  Hop-fly, 
Aphis  humidi. 

Reaumur  tells  us  that  in  the  Levant,  Persia,  and  China, 
they  use  the  galls  of  a  particular  species  of  AjjJiis  for  dyeing 
silk  crimson,^ 

In  England,  the  mischief  caused  by  the  Hop-fly,  Aphis 
humuli,  in  some  seasons,  as  in  1802,  has  brought  the  duty 
of  hops  down  from  £100,000  to  £14,000. 

A  quite  common,  though  erroneous,  belief  in  England  is, 
that  Aphides  are  produced,  or  brought  by,  a  northern  or  east- 
ern wind.  Thomson  has  fallen  intothe  error;  he  has  also 
confounded  the  mischief  of  caterpillars  with  that  of  the  Aphis : 

1  B.  3,  c.  xvi.  p.  278.   Printed  1613. 

2  iVat.  Hint,  of  Selborne,  p.  366. 

3  K.  and  S.  Introd.,  ii.  9. 

*  Reaumur,  iii.  xxxi.  Pref. 


For  oft,  engendered  by  the  liazy  north, 
Myriads  on  myriads  insect  armies  wai'p, 
Keen  in  the  poison'd  breeze,  and  wasteful  eat. 
Through  buds  and  bark  into  the  blackened  core 
Their  eager  way.     A  feeble  race  !      Yet  oft 
The  sacred  sons  of  vengeance,  on  whose  course 
Corrosive  famine  waits,  and  kills  the  year. 

Coccidae — Shield-lice. 

The  Kerraes-dje,  or  scarlet,  marie  from  the  Coccus  ilicis 
of  Linngeus,  an  insect  found  chiefly  on  a  species  of  oak,  the 
Quer^cus  ilex,  in  the  Levant,  France,  Spain,  and  other  parts 
of  the  world,  was  known  in  the  East  in  the  earliest  ages, 
even  before  the  time  of  Moses,  and  was  a  discovery  of  the 
PhoBnicians  in  Palestine,  who  also  first  employed  the  murex 
and  buccinum  for  the  purpose  of  dyeing. 

Tola  or  Thola  was  the  ancient  Phoenician  name  for  this 
insect  and  dye,  which  was  used  by  the  Hebrews,  and  even 
by  the  Syrians;  for  it  is  employed  by  the  Syrian  translator.^ 
Among  the  Jews,  after  their  captivity,  the  Araracean  zehori 
was  more  common.  This  dye  was  known  also  to  the  Egyp- 
tians in  the  time  of  Moses;  and  it  is  most  probable  that  the 
color  mentioned  in  Exodus^  as  on,e  of  the  three  which  were 
prescribed  for  the  curtains  of  the  tabernacle,  and  for  the 
"holy  garments"  of  Aaron,  and  which  the  English  transla- 
tors have  rendered  by  the  word  scarlet  (not  the  color  now 
so  called,  which  was  not  known  in  James  the  First's  reign 
when  the  Bible  was  translated),  was  no  other  than  the  blood- 
red  color  dyed  from  the  Coccus  ilicis. 

The  Arabs  received  the  name  Kermes  or  Alkermes  for 
the  insect  and  dye,  from  Armenia  and  Persia,  where  the 
insect  was  indigenous,  and  had  long  been  known  ;  and  that 
name  banished  the  old  name  in  the  East,  as  the  name  scarlet 
has  in  the  West.  For  the  first  part  of  this  assertion  we 
must  believe  the  Arabs.  The  Kermes,  however,  were  not 
indigenous  to  Arabia,  as  the  Arabs  appear  to  have  no  name 
for  them.     To  the  Greeks  this  dye  was  known  under  the 

1  Isaiah,  ch.  i.  v.  18. 

2  Ex.  ch.  xxvi.  xxviii.  xxix. 


name  of  Coccus,  as  appears  from  Dioscorides,  and  other 
Greek  writers.^ 

From  the  epithets  kermes  and  coccus,  and  that  of  ver- 
miculus  ovvermiculum,  given  to  the  Kermes  in  the  middle 
ages,  when  they  were  ascertained  to  be  insects,  have  sprung 
the  Latin  coccineus,  the  French  carmesin,  carmine,  cra- 
moisi  and  vermeil,  the  Italian  chermisi,  cremisino,  and 
cher merino,  and  our  crimson  and  vermilion. 

The  imperishable  reds  of  the  Brussels  and  other  Flemish 
tapestries  were  derived  from  the  Kermes;  and,  in  short, 
previous  to  the  discovery  of  cochineal,  this  was  the  mate- 
rial universally  used  for  dyeing  the  most  brilliant  red  then 
known.  At  the  present  time  the  Kermes  are  only  gathered 
in  Europe  by  the  peasantry  of  the  provinces  in  which  they 
are  found,  but  they  still  continue  to  be  employed  as  of  old 
in  a  great  part  of  India  and  Persia. ^ 

Brookes  says  the  women  gather  the  harvest  of  Kermes 
insects  before  sunrise,  tearing  them  off  with  their  nails; 
and,  for  fear  there  should  be  any  loss  from  the  hatching  of 
the  insects,  they  sprinkle  them  with  vinegar.  They  then 
lay  them  in  the  sun  to  dry,  where  they  acquire  a  red  color. ^ 

The  scarlet  grain  of  Poland,  Coccus  j)olonicus,  found 
on  the  German  knot-grass  or  perennial  knawel  (Scleranthus 
perennis),  was  at  one  time  collected  in  large  quantities  in 
the  Ukraine  and  other  provinces  of  Poland  (here  under  the 
name  of  Czerwiec),  and  also  in  the  great  duchy  of  Lithu- 
ania. But  though  much  esteemed  and  still  employed  by 
the  Turks  and  Armenians  for  dyeing  wool,  silk,  and  hair, 
as  well  as  for  staining  the  nails  of  women's  fingers,  it  is 
now  rarely  used  in  Europe  except  by  the  Polish  peasantry. 
A  similar  neglect  has  attended  the  Coccus  found  on  the 
roots  of  the  Burnet  {PoteiHum  sanguisorha,  Linn.),  which 
was  used,  particularly  by  the  Moors,  for  dyeing  wool  and 
silk  a  rose  color  ;  and  the  Coccus  uvae-ursi,  which  with 
alum  affords  a  crimson  dye.* 

Cochineal,  the  Coccus  cacti,  is  doubtless  the  most  valu-  j| 
able  product  for  which  the  dyer  is  indebted  to  insects,  and  ' 

»  Diosc.  iv.  48,  p.  260.     Pausan.  B.  x.  p.  890. 

2  Beckman's  Hist,  of  Inventions,  ii.  163-195.     Banci'oft  on  Perm. 
Colors,  i.  393-408. 

3  Nat.  Hist,  of  Ins. ,  p.  77. 

*  Bancroft  on  J'ermancnt  Colors,  i.  408-9. 


with  the  exception  perhaps  of  indigo,  the  most  important  of 
dyeing  materials.  It  is  found  on  a  liind  of  fig,  called  in 
Mexico,  where  the  insect  is  produced  in  any  quantity,  No- 
pal or  Tuna,  which  generally  has  been  supposed  to  be  the 
Cactus  cochinilifer,  but  according  to  Humboldt  is  unques- 
tionably a  distinct  species,  which  bears  fruit  internally 

Cochineal  was  discoyered  by  the  Spaniards,  on  their 
first  arriyal  in  Mexico,  about  the  year  1518  ;  but  who  first 
remarked  this  valuable  production,  and  made  it  known  in 
Europe,  Mr.  Beckman  says,  he  has  been  unable  to  discover. 
Some  assert  that  the  native  Mexicans,  before  the  landing 
of  Cortes,  were  acquainted  with  cochineal,  which  they 
employed  in  painting  their  houses  and^yeing  their  clothes  ; 
but  others  maintain  the  contrary.  Be  that  as  it  may,  how- 
ever, the  Spanish  ministry,  as  early  as  the  year  1523,  as 
Herrera  informs  us,  ordered  Cortes  to  take  measures  for 
multiplying  this  valuable  commodity;  and  soon  after  it 
must  have  begun  to  be  quite  an  object  of  commerce,  for 
Guicciardini,  who  died  in  1589,  mentions  it  among  the 
articles  procured  then  by  the  merchants  of  Antwerp  from 

Professor  Beckman,  who  has  given  the  subject  particular 
attention,  thinks  that  with  the  first  cochineal,  a  true  ac- 
count of  the  manner  in  which  it  was  procured  must  have 
reached  Europe,  and  become  publicly  known.  Acosta  in 
1530,  and  Herrera  in  1601,  as  well  as  Hernandez  and 
others,  gave  so  true  and  complete  a  description  of  it,  that 
the  Europeans  could  entertain  no  doubt  respecting  its 
origin.  The  information  of  these  authors,  however,  con- 
tinues this  gentleman,  was  either  overlooked  or  considered 
as  false,  and  disputes  arose  whether  cochineal  was  insects 
or  worms,  or  the  berries  or  seeds  of  certain  plants.  The 
Spanish  name  grana,  confounded  with  granum,  may  have 
given  rise  to  this  contest. 

Illustrative  of  this  great  difference  of  opinion,  Mr.  Beck- 
man narrates  the  following  anecdote:  "A  Dutchman, 
named  Melchior  de  Ruusscher,  affirmed  in  a  society,  from 
oral  information  he  had  received  in  Spain,  that  cochineal 
was  small  animals.  Another  person,  whose  name  he  has 
not  made  known,  maintained  the  contrary  with  so  much 
heat  and  violence,  that  the  dispute  at  length  ended  in  a 
bet.     Ruusscher  charged  a  Spaniard,  one  of  his  friends, 



who  was  going  to  Mexico,  to  procure  for  him  in  that  coun- 
try authentic  proofs  of  what  he  had  asserted.  These  proofs, 
legally  confirmed  in  October,  1725,  by  the  court  of  justice 
in  the  city  of  Antiquera,  in  the  valley  of  Oaxaca,  arrived  at 
Amsterdam  in  the  autumn  of  the  year  1726.  I  have  been 
informed  that  Ruusscher  upon  this  got  possession  of  the 
sum  betted,  which  amounted  to  the  whole  property  of  the 
loser;  but  that,  after  keeping  it  a  certain  time,  he  again  re- 
turned it,  deducting  only  the  expenses  he  had  been  at  in 
procuring  the  evidence,  and  in  causing  it  to  be  published. 
It  formed  a  small  octavo  volume,  with  the  following  title 
printed  in  red  letters:  Tlie  History  of  Cochineal  jyr^oved 
by  Authentic  documents.  These  proofs  sent  from  New- 
Spain  are  written  in  Dutch,  French,  and  Spanish."^ 

Among  the  important  discoveries  made  by  accident,  the 
following  in  the  history  of  Cochineal  may  be  instanced  : 
"The  well-iinown  Cornelius  Drebbel,  who  was  born  at 
Alcmaar,  and  died  at  London  in  1634,  having  placed  in  his 
window  an  extract  of  Cochineal,  made  with  boiling  water, 
for  the  purpose  of  filling  a  thermometer,  some  aqua-regia 
dropped  into  it  from  a  phial,  broken  by  accident,  which 
stood  above  it,  and  converted  the  purple  dye  into  a  most 
beautiful  dark  red.  After  some  conjectures  and  experi- 
ments, he  discovered  that  the  tin  by  which  the  window 
frame  was  divided  into  squares  had  been  dissolved  by  the 
aqua-regia,  and  was  the  cause  of  this  change.  He  com- 
municated his  observation  to  Kuffelar,  an  ingenious  dyer 
at  Leyden.  The  latter  brought  the  discovery  to  perfection, 
and  employed  it  some  years  alone  in  his  dye-house,  which 
gave  rise  to  the  name  of  Kuffelar's  color.  "^ 

That  innocent  cosmetic,  so  much  used  by  the  ladies,  and 
commonly  known  by  the  French  term  Rouge,  is  no  other 
than  a  preparation  of  Cochineal.^ 

Kermes-berries,  Coccus  ilicis,  and  Cochineal,  C.  cacti, 
Geoffrey  says,  "are  esteemed  to  be  greatly  cordial  and 
sudorific,  being  very  full  of  volatile  salt.  They  are  given 
also  to  prevent  abortion  from  any  strain  or  hurt."* 

Lac  is  the  produce  of  an  insect  supposed  by  Amatus 

1  Hist,  of  Inventions,  ii.  184. 

2  Ibid.,  11)2. 

3  Shaw's  ZuoL,  vi.  102. 

*  Subst.  ustd  in  Physic,  p.  ;>70. 


Lusitanus  to  be  a  kind  of  ant,  and  by  others  a  bee,  but  now 
ascertained  to  be  a  species  belonging  to  the  Coccidas — the 
Coccus  ficus  or  G.  lacca.  It  is  collected  from  various  trees 
in  India,  where  it  is  found  so  abundantly,  that,  were  the 
consumption  ten  times  greater  than  it  is,  it  could  be  readily 

Lac  is  known  in  Europe  by  the  different  appellations  of 
stick-lac,  when  in  its  natural  state,  adhering  to,  and  often 
completely  surrounding,  for  five  or  six  inches,  the  twigs  on 
which  it  is  produced  by  the  insects  contained  in  its  cells ; 
seed-lac,  when  broken  into  small  pieces,  garbled,  and  the 
greater  part  of  the  coloring  matter  extracted  by  water; 
when  it  appears  in  a  granulated  form;  lump-lac,  when 
melted  and  made  into  cakes ;  and  shell-lac,  when  strained 
and  formed  into  transparent  laminae. 

Lac,  in  its  different  forms,  is  made  use  of  in  the  manu- 
facture of  varnishes,  japanned  ware,  sealing-wax,  beads, 
rings,  arm-bracelets,  necklaces,  water-proof  hats,  etc.,  etc. 
Mixed  with  fine  sand  it  forms  grindstones;  and  added  to 
lamp  or  ivory  black,  being  first  dissolved  in  water  with  the 
addition  of  a  little  borax,  it  composes  an  ink  not  easily 
acted  upon  by  dampness  or  water.  It  has  been  applied 
also  to  a  still  more  important  purpose,  originally  suggested 
by  Dr.  Roxburgh  about  the  year  1790 — that  of  a  substitute 
for  Cochineal  in  dyeing  scarlet.^  From  this  suggestion, 
under  the  direction  of  Dr.  Bancroft,  large  quantities  of  a 
substance  termed  lac-lake,  consisting  of  the  coloring  matter 
of  stick-lac  precipitated  from  an  alkaline  lixivium  by  alum, 
were  manufactured  at  Calcutta  and  sent  to  England,  where 
at  first  the  consumption  was  so  great,  that,  according  to 
the  statement  of  Dr.  Bancroft,  in  1806,  and  the  two  follow- 
ing years,  the  sales  of  it  at  the  India  House  equaled  in 
point  of  coloring  matter  half  a  million  of  pounds'  weight  of 
Cochineal.  Soon  after  this,  a  new  preparation  of  lac  color, 
under  the  name  of  lac-dye,  was  substituted  for  the  lac-lake, 
and  with  such  advantage,  that  in  a  few  months  £14,000 
were  saved  by  the  East  India  Company  in  the  purchase  of 
scarlet  cloths  dyed  with  this  color  and  Cochineal  conjointly, 
and  without  any  inferiority  in  the  color  obtained.^ 

1  Phil.  Trans,  for  1791. 

'''  Bancroft  on  Permanent  Colors,  ii.  1-59. 


The  Cocoidae,  although  they  furnish  an  invaluable  dye 
and  many  articles  of  commerce,  are  among  the  most  hurtful 
of  insects  in  gardens  and  hot-houses.  In  1843,  the  orange- 
trees  of  the  Azores  or  Western  Islands  were  nearly  entirely 
destroyed  by  the  Coccus  Hesperiduvi ;  and  in  Fayal,  an 
island  which  had  usually  exported  twelve  thousand  chests 
of  oranges  annually,  not  one  was  exported.^ 

1  Baird's  Cyclop,  of  Nat.  Set. 




CimicidsB — Bed-bugs . 

"In  the  year  1503,"  says  Moufet,  "Dr.  Penny  was  called 
in  great  haste  to  a  little  village,  called  Mortlake,  near  the 
Thames,  to  visit  two  noble  ladies  (duas  nobiles),  who  were 
much  frightened  by  the  appearance  of  bug-bites  {ex  cinicuin 
vestigiis),  and  were  in  fear  of  I  know  not  what  contagion  ; 
but  when  the  matter  was  known,  and  the  insects  caught,  he 
laughed  them  out  of  all  fear."^ 

This  fact  disproves  the  statement  of  Southall,  that  the 
Gimex  lectularius  was  not  known  in  England  before  16t0, 
and  that  of  Linnaeus,  and  the  generality  of  later  writers, 
that  this  insect  is  not  originally  a  native  of  Europe,  but  was 
introduced  into  England  after  the  great  fire  of  London  in 
1666,  having  been  brought  in  timber  from  America. 

The  original  English  names  of  the  C.  lectularius,  were 
Chinche,  Wall-louse,  and  Punaise  (from  the  French); 
and  the  term  Bug,  which  is  a  Celtic  word,  signifying  a 
ghost  or  goblin,  was  applied  to  them  after  the  time  of  Ray,^ 
most  probably  because  they  were  considered  as  "  terrors  of 
the  night.  "=^ 

In  the  Nicholson's  Journal*  there  is  mention  of  a  man 
who,  far  from  disliking  Bed-bugs,  took  them  under  his  pro- 
tecting care,  and  would  never  suffer  them  to  be  disturbed, 
or  his  bedsteads  removed,  till  in  the  end  they  swarmed  to  an 

1  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  270. 

2  Ray,  Hist.  Ins.,  7. 

3  Hence  the  English  word  Bug-bear.  In  Matthew's  Bible,  the  pas- 
sage of  the  Psalms  (xci.  5),  "Thou  shalt  not  be  afraid  of  the  terror 
by  night,"  is  rendered,  "  Thou  shalt  not  nede  to  be  afraid  of  any  bugs 
by  night."  Bug  in  this  sense  often  occurs  in  Shakspeare.  Winter  s 
Tale,  A.  iii.  Sc.  2,  3;   Henry  VI.,  A.  v.  Sc.  2;   Hamlet,  A.  v.  Sc.  2. 

*  Journal,  xvii.  40. 



incredible  dep^ree,  crawling  up  even  the  walls  of  his  draw- 
ing-room;  and  after  his  death  millions  were  found  in  his 
bed  and  chamber  furniture. 

Gemelli,  in  1695,  visited  the  Banian  hospital  at  Surat, 
and  says  that  what  amazed  him  most,  though  he  went  there 
for  that  express  purpose,  was  to  see  "a  poor  wretch,  naked, 
bound  down  hand^  and  feet,  to  feed  the  Bugs  or  Punaises, 
brought  out  of  their  stinking  holes  for  that  purpose."^ 

Mr.  Forbes,  speaking  of  this  remark^le  institution  for 
animals,  says:  "At  my  visit,  the  hospital  contained  horses, 
mules,  oxen,  sheep,  goats,  monkeys,  poultry,  pigeons,  and  a 
variety  of  birds.  The  most  extraordinary  ward  was  that 
appropriated  to  rats  and  mice,  Bugs,  and  other  noxious  ver- 
min. The  overseers  of  the  hospital  frequently  hire  beggars 
from  the  streets,  for  a  stipulated  sum,  to  pass  a  night  among 
the  Fleas,  Lice,  and  Bugs,  on  the  express  condition  of  suf- 
fering them  to  enjoy  their  feast  without  molestation."- 

Navarette  says  that  a  species  of  Bugs  (most  probably  a 
Cimex),  which  swarm  in  some  parts  of  China,  are  a  source 
of  great  amusement  to  the  natives;  for  they  take  particular 
delight  in  killing  them  with  their  fingers,  and  then  clapping 
them  to  their  noses. ^ 

Democritus  says  that  the  feet  of  a  hare,  or  of  a  stag, 
hung  round  the  feet  of  the  bed  at  the  bottom  of  the  couch, 
does  not  suffer  Bugs  to  breed ;  but,  in  traveling,  Didymus 
adds,  if  you  fill  a  vessel  with  cold  water  and  set  it  under  the 
bed,  they  will  not  touch  you  when  you  are  asleep.* 

A  superstition  prevails  among  us  that  beds,  in  order  to 
rid  them  effectually  of  Bugs,  must  be  cleaned  during  the 
dark  of  the  moon. 

The  medicinal  virtues  of  the  Cimex  are  given  by  Pliny 
(doubtless  quoting  Dioscorides,  ii.  36)  as  follows  :  "  Tlie 
Bug  is  said  to  be  a  neutralizer  of  the  venom  of  serpents, 
asps  in  particular,  and  to  be  a  preservative  against  all  kinds 
of  poisons.  As  a  proof  of  this,  they  tell  us  that  the  sting 
of  an  asp  is  never  fatal  to  poultry,  if  they  have  eaten  Bugs 
that  day ;  and  that,  if  such  is  the  case,  their  flesh  is  remark- 

1  Churchiirs  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  iv.  190. 

2  Oriental  Memoirs,  i.  256. 

3  Astley's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  iv.  513.   Churchiirs  same,  i.  34. 
*  Oweu's  Geoponika,  ii.  1(30. 


ablj  beneficial  to  persons  who  have  been  stung  by  serpents. 
Of  the  various  recipes  j2^iven  in  reference  to  these  insects, 
the  least  revolting  are  the  application  of  them  externally  to 
the  wound,  with  the  blood  of  a  tortoise;  the  employment  of 
them  as  a  fumigation  to  make  leeches  loose  their  hold  ;  and 
the  administering  of  them  to  animals  in  drink  when  a  leech 
has  been  accidentally  swallowed.  Some  persons,  however, 
go  so  far  as  to  crush  Bugs  with  salt  and  woman's  milk,  and 
anoint  the  eyes  with  the  mixture ;  in  combination,  too, 
with  honey  and  oil  of  roses,  they  use  them  as  an  injection 
for  the  ears.  Field-bugs,  again,  and  those  found  upon  the 
mallow  (perhaps  the  Cimex  jDratennis  is  meant  here ;  neither 
this  nor  the  Gimex  junipermus,  the  G.  bra^sicse,  or  the 
Lygaeus  hyoscami,  has  the  offensive  smell  of  the  G.  lectula- 
rius)  are  burnt,  and  the  ashes  mixed  with  oil  of  roses  as  an 
injection  for  the  ears. 

"As  to  the  other  remedial  virtues  attributed  to  Bugs  for 
the  cure  of  vomiting,  quartan  fevers,  and  other  diseases, 
although  we  find  recommendations  given  to  swallow  them 
in  an  egg,  some  wax,  or  in  a  bean,^  I  look  upon  them  as 
utterly  unfounded,  and  not  worthy  of  further  notice.  They 
are  employed,  however,  for  the  treatment  of  lethargy,  and 
with  some  fair  reason,  as  they  successfully  neutralize  the 
narcotic  effects  of  the  poison  of  the  asp  ;  for  this  purpose 
seven  of  them  are  administered  in  a  cyathus  of  water;  but 
in  the  case  of  children,  only  four.  In  cases,  too,  of  stran- 
gury they  have  been  injected  into  the  urinarychannel.^  So 
true  it  is  that  nature,  that  universal  parent,  has  engendered 
nothing  without  some  powerful  reason  or  other.  In  addi- 
tion to  these  particulars,  a  couple  of  Bugs,  it  is  said,  at- 
tached to  the  left  arm  in  some  wool  that  has  been  stolen 
from  the  shepherds,  will  effectually  cure  nocturnal  fevers  ; 
while  those  recurrent  in  the  daytime  may  be  treated  with 
equal  success  by  inclosing  the  Bags  in  a  piece  of  russet- 
colored  cloth.  "^ 

1  Dr.  James  says:  "Given  to  the  number  of  seven,  as  food  with 
beans,  they  help  those  who  are  afflicted  with  a  quartan  ague,  if  they 
be  eaten  before  the  accession  of  the  fit." — 3fed.  Diet. 

2  An  excellent  method,  Ajasson  remarks,  of  adding  to  the  tortures 
of  the  patient. 

3  Pliny,  Nat.  Hist.,  xxix.  17.    Bostock  and  Riley's  Trans.,  v.  893. 

268  CmiClDJE — BED-BUGS. 

Guettard,  a  French  commentator  on  Pliny,  recommends 
Bugs  to  be  taken  internally  for  hysteria;  and  Dr.  James 
says  "  the  smell  of  them  relieves  under  hysterical  suffoca- 

At  the  present  time  the  Bed-bug  is  sometimes  given  by 
the  country  people  of  Ohio  as  a  cure  for  the  fever  and  ague. 

Moufet  says:  "The  verses  of  Quintus  Serenus  show  that 
they  are  good  for  tertian  agues : 

Shame  not  to  drink  three  Wall-Hce  mixt  with  wine, 
And  garlick  bruised  together  at  noon-day. 

Moreover  a  bruised  Wall-louse  with  an  egg,  repine 
Not  for  to  take,  'tis  loathsome,  yet  full  good  I  say. 

"  Gesner  in  his  writings  confirms  this  experiment,  having 
made  trial  of  it  among  the  common  and  meaner  sort  of 
people  in  the  country.  The  ancients  gave  seven  to  those 
that  were  taken  with  a  lethargy,  in  a  cup  of  water,  and  four 
to  children.  Pliny  and  Serenus  consent  to  this  in  these 
verses : 

Some  men  prescribe  seven  Wall-lice  for  to  drink, 
Mingled  with  water,  and  one  cup  they  think 
Is  belter  than  with  drowsy  deatii  to  sink."^ 

Anatolius  says  that  if  an  ox,  or  other  quadruped,  swal- 
lows a  leech  in  drinking,  having  pounded  some  Bugs,  let 
the  animal  smell  them,  and  he  immediately  throws  up  the 
leech. ^ 

Mr.  Mayhew,  in  his  work  on  the  London  poor  and  their 
labor,  has  an  interesting  chapter  devoted  to  the  Destroyers 
of  Yermin,  from  which  we  have  taken  the  liberty  of  quoting 
pretty  largely  in  the  course  of  this  work.  His  statements 
can  be  relied  on,  and  we  give  them  as  nearly  in  his  own 
words  as  possible.  Concerning  Bugs  and  Fleas,  and  the 
trade  carried  on  in  the  manufacture  and  vending  of  poisons 
to  destroy  these  pests,  we  learn  from  him :  The  vending  of 
bug-poison  in  the  London  streets  is  seldom  followed  as  a 
regular  source  of  living.  He  has  met  with  persons  who  re- 
membered to  have  seen  men  selling  packets  of  vermin  poi- 
son ;  but  to  find  out  the  venders  themselves  was  next  to  an 

1  Jfed.  Diet. 

2  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  270-1.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  1098. 
s  Owen's  Geoponika,  ii.  157. 


impossibility.  The  men  seem  to  take  merely  to  the  business 
as  a  living  when  all  other  sources  have  failed.  All,  how- 
ever, agree  in  acknowledging  that  there  is  such  a  street  trade ; 
but  that  the  living  it  afi'ords  is  so  precarious  that  few  men 
stop  at  it  longer  than  two  or  three  weeks. 

The  most  eminent  firm,  perhaps,  of  the  bug-destroyers  in 
London  now  is  that  of  Messrs.  Tiffin  and  Son.  They  have 
pursued  their  calling  in  the  streets,  but  now  rejoice  in  the 
title  of  "  Bug-Destroyers  to  Her  Majesty  and  the  Royal 

Mr.  Tiffin,  the  senior  party  in  this  house,  kindly  obliged 
Mr.  Mayhew  with  the  following  statement.  It  may  be  as 
well  to  say  that  Mr.  Tiffin  appears  to  have  paid  much  atten- 
tion to  the  subject  of  Bugs,  and  has  studied  with  much  earn- 
estness the  natural  history  of  this  vermin.     He  said  : 

"We  can  trace  our  business  back  as  far  as  1695,  when  one 
of  our  ancestors  first  turned  his  attention  to  the  destruction 
of  bugs.  He  was  a  lady's  stay-maker — men  used  to  make 
them  in  those  days,  though,  as  far  back  as  that  is  concerned, 
it  was  a  man  that  made  my  mother's  dresses.  This  ancestor 
found  some  bugs  in  his  house — a  young  colony  of  them,  that 
had  introduced  themselves  without  his  permission,  and  he 
didn't  like  their  company,  so  he  tried  to  turn  them  out  of 
doors  again,  I  have  heard  it  said,  in  various  ways.  It  is  in 
history,  and  it  has  been  handed  down  in  my  own  family  as 
well,  that  bugs  were  first  introduced  into  England,  after 
the  fire  in  London,  in  the  timber  that  was  brought  for  the 
rebuilding  of  the  city,  thirty  years  after  the  fire,  and  it  was 
about  that  time  that  my  ancestor  first  discovered  the  colony 
of  bugs  in  his  house.  I  can't  say  whether  he  studied  the  sub- 
ject of  bug-destroying,  or  whether  he  found  out  his  stuff  by 
accident,  but  he  certainly  did  invent  a  compound  which 
completely  destroyed  the  bugs,  and,  having  been  so  suc- 
cessful in  his  own  house,  he  named  it  to  some  of  his  cus- 
tomers who  were  similarly  plagued,  and  that  was  the  com- 
mencement of  the  present  connection,  which  has  continued 
up  to  this  time. 

"At  the  time  of  the  illumination  for  the  Peace,  I  thought 
I  must  have  something  over  my  shop,  that  would  be  both 
suitable  for  the  event  and  to  my  business  ;  so  I  had  a  trans- 
parency done,  and  stretched  on  a  big  frame,  and  lit  up  by 
gas,  on  which  was  written 






TIFFIN   &    SON, 


"  Our  business  was  formerly  carried  on  in  the  Strand, 
where  both  my  father  and  myself  were  born ;  in  fact,  I  may 
say  I  was  born  to  the  bug  business. 

"  I  remember  my  father  as  well  as  possible  ;  indeed,  I 
worked  with  him  for  ten  or  eleven  years.  He  used,  when 
I  was  a  boy,  to  go  out  to  his  work  killing  bugs  at  his  cus- 
tomers' houses  with  a  sword  by  his  side  and  a  cocked-hat 
and  bag-wig  on  his  head — in  fact,  dressed  up  like  a  regular 
dandy,  I  remember  my  grandmother,  too,  when  she  was 
in  the  business,  going  to  the  different  houses,  and  seating 
herself  in  a  chair,  and  telling  the  men  what  they  were  to 
do,  to  clean  the  furniture  and  wash  the  woodwork. 

"I  have  customers  in  our  books  for  whom  our  house  has 
worked  these  150  years ;  that  is,  my  father  and  self  have 
worked  for  them  and  their  fathers.  We  do  the  work  by 
contract,  examining  the  house  every  year.  It's  a  precau- 
tion to  keep  the  place  comfortable.  You  see,  servants  are 
apt  to  bring  bugs  in  their  boxes ;  and,  though  there  may 
be  only  two  or  three  bugs  perhaps  hidden  in  the  wood- 
work and  the  clothes,  yet  they  soon  breed  if  let  alone. 

"  We  generally  go  in  the  spring,  before  the  bugs  lay  their 
eggs ;  or,  if  that  time  passes,  it  ought  to  be  done  before 
June,  before  their  eggs  are  hatched,  though  it's  never  too 
late  to  get  rid  of  a  nuisance. 

"I  mostly  find  the  bugs  in  the  bedsteads.  But,  if  they 
are  left  unmolested,  they  get  numerous  and  climb  to  the 
tops  of  the  rooms,  and  about  the  corners  of  the  ceilings. 
They  colonize  anywhere  they  can,  though  they're  very 
high-minded  and  prefer  lofty  places.  Where  iron  bedsteads 
are  used,  the  bugs  are  more  in  the  rooms,  and  that's  why 
such  things  are  bad.  They  don't  keep  a  bug  away  from  a 
person  sleeping.     Bugs'll  come  if  they're  thirty  yards  off. 

''I  knew  a  case  of  a  bug  who  used  to  come  every  night 
about  thirty  or  forty  feet — it  was  an  immense  large  room — 


from  the  comer  of  the  room  to  visit  an  old  ladj.  There 
was  only  one  bug,  and  he'd  been  there  for  a  long  time.  I 
was  sent  for  to  find  him  out.  It  took  me  a  long  time  to 
catch  him.  In  that  instance  I  had  to  examine  every  part 
of  the  room,  and  when  I  got  him  I  gave  him  an  extra  nip 
to  serve  him  out.  The  reason  why  I  was  so  bothered  was, 
the  bug  had  hidden  itself  near  the  window,  the  last  place  I 
should  have  thought  of  looking  for  him,  for  a  bug  never,  by 
choice,  faces  the  light ;  but  when  I  came  to  inquire  about 
it,  I  found  that  this  old  lady  never  rose  till  three  o'clock  in 
the  day,  and  the  window-curtains  were  always  drawn,  so 
that  there  was  no  light  like. 

"  Lord  !  yes,  I  am  often  sent  for  to  catch  a  single  bug. 
I've  had  to  go  many,  many  miles — even  100  or  200 — into 
the  country,  and  perhaps  only  catch  half  a  dozen  bugs  after 
all;  but  then  that's  all  that  are  there,  so  it  answers  our  em- 
ployer's purpose  as  well  as  if  they  were  swarming. 

"I  work  for  the  upper  classes  only  ;  that  is,  for  carriage- 
company  and  such  like  approaching  it,  you  know.  I  have 
noblemen's  names,  the  first  in  England,  on  my  books. 

"  My  work  is  more  method  ;  and  I  may  call  it  a  scientific 
treating  of  the  bugs  rather  than  wholesale  murder.  We 
don't  care  about  the  thousands,  it's  the  last  bug  we  look  for, 
whilst  your  carpenters  and  upholsterers  leave  as  many  be- 
hind them,  perhaps,  as  they  manage  to  catch. 

"  The  bite  of  the  bug  is  very  curious.  They  bite  all  per- 
sons the  same  (?);  but  the  difference  of  effect  lies  in  the  con- 
stitutions of  the  parties.  I've  never  noticed  that  a  diff'erent 
kind  of  skin  makes  any  difference  in  being  bitten.  Whether 
the  skin  is  moist  or  dry,  it  don't  matter.  Wherever  bugs 
are,  the  person  sleeping  in  the  bed  is  sure  to  be  fed  on, 
whether  they  are  marked  or  not;  and  as  a  proof,  when  no- 
body has  slept  in  the  bed  for  some  time,  the  bugs  become 
quite  flat;  and,  on  the  contrary,  when  the  bed  is  always  oc- 
cupied, they  are  round  as  a  lady-bird. 

"The  flat  bug  is  more  ravenous,  though  even  he  will  al- 
low you  time  to  go  to  sleep  before  he  begins  with  you;  or 
at  least  till  he  thinlvs  you  ought  to  be  asleep.  When  they 
find  all  quiet,  not  even  a  light  in  the  room  will  prevent 
their  biting ;  but  they  are  seldom  or  never  found  under  the 
bedclothes.  They  like  a  clear  ground  to  get  off',  and  gen- 
erally bite  round  the  edges  of  the  nightcap  or  the  night- 
dress.    When  thev  are  found  in  the  bed,  it's  because  the 


parties  have  been  tossing  about,  and  have  curled  the  sheets 
round  the  bugs. 

"The  finest  and  fattest  bugs  I  ever  saw  were  those  I 
found  in  a  black  man's  bed.  He  was  the  favorite  servant 
of  an  Indian  general.  He  didn't  want  his  bed  done  by  me ; 
he  didn't  want  it  touched.  His  bed  was  full  of  'em,  no  bee- 
hive was  ever  fuller.  The  walls  and  all  were  the  same, 
there  wasn't  a  patch  that  was  not  crammed  with  them.  He 
must  have  taken  them  all  over  the  house  wherever  he 

"I've  known  persons  to  be  laid  up  for  months  through 
bug-bites.  There  was  a  very  handsome  fair  young  lady  I 
knew  once,  and  she  was  much  bitten  about  the  arms,  and 
neck,  and  face,  so  that  her  eyes  were  so  swelled  up  she 
couldn't  see.  The  spots  rose  up  like  blisters,  the  same  as 
if  stung  with  a  nettle,  only  on  a  very  large  scale.  The 
bites  were  very  much  inflamed,  and  after  a  time  they  had 
the  appearance  of  boils. 

"  Some  people  fancy,  and  it  is  historically  recorded,  that 
the  bug  smells  because  it  has  no  vent ;  but  this  is  fabulous, 
for  they  have  a  vent.  It  is  not  the  human  blood  neither 
that  makes  them  smell,  because  a  young  bug  who  has  never 
touched  a  drop  will  smell.  They  breathe,  I  believe,  through 
their  sides ;  but  I  can't  answer  for  that,  though  it's  not  through 
the  head.  They  haven't  got  a  mouth,  but  they  insert  into 
the  skin  the  point  of  a  tube,  which  is  quite  as  fine  as  a  hair, 
through  which  they  draw  up  the  blood.  I  have  many  a 
time  put  a  bug  on  the  back  of  my  hand,  to  see  how  they 
bite ;  though  I  never  felt  the  bite  but  once,  and  then  I  sup- 
pose the  bug  had  pitched  upon  a  very  tender  part,  for  it  was 
a  sharp  prick,  something  like  that  of  a  leech-bite. 

"I  once  had  a  case  of  lice-killing,  for  my  process  will  an- 
swer as  well  for  them  as  for  bugs,  though  it's  a  thing  I 
never  should  follow  by  choice.  Lice  seem  to  harbor  pretty 
much  the  same  as  bugs  do.  I  find  them  in  the  furniture. 
It  was  a  nurse  that  brought  them  into  the  house,  though 
she  was  as  nice  and  clean  a  looking  woman  as  ever  I  saw. 
I  should  almost  imagine  the  lice  must  have  been  in  her, 
for  they  say  there  is  a  disease  of  that  kind ;  and  if  the  tics 
breed  in  sheep,  why  should  not  lice  breed  in  us  ?  for  we're 
but  live  matter,  too.  I  didn't  like  myself  at  all  for  two  or 
three  days  after  that  lice-killing  job,  I  can  assure  you ;  it's 
the  only  case  of  the  kind  I  ever  had,  and  I  can  promise 
vou  it  shall  be  the  last. 


"  I  was  once  at  work  on  the  Princess  Charlotte's  own 
bedstead.  I  was  in  the  room,  and  she  asked  me  if  I  had 
found  anything,  and  I  told  her  no  ;  but  just  at  that  minute 
I  did  happen  to  catch  one,  and  upon  that  she  sprang  up  on 
the  bed,  and  put  her  head  on  my  shoulder,  to  look  at  it. 
She  had  been  tormented  by  the  creature,  because  I  was  or- 
dered to  come  directly,  and  that  was  the  only  one  I  found. 
When  the  Princess  saw  it,  she  said,  'Oh,  the  nasty  thing  I 
That's  what  tormented  me  last  night ;  don't  let  him  escape.' 
I  think  he  looked  all  the  better  for  having  tasted  royal 

"I  also  profess  to  kill  beetles,  though  you  never  can  de- 
stroy them  so  effectually  as  you  can  bugs ;  for,  you  see, 
beetles  run  from  one  house  to  another,  and  you  can  never 
perfectly  get  rid  of  them ;  you  can  only  keep  them  under. 
Beetles  will  scrape  their  way  and  make  their  road  round  a 
fire-place,  but  how  they  go  from  one  house  to  another  I 
can't  say,  but  they  do. 

"I  never  had  patience  enough  to  try  and  kill  Fleas  by  my 
process ;  it  would  be  too  much  of  a  chivey  to  please  me. 

"I  never  heard  of  any  but  one  man  who  seriously  went  to 
work  selling  bug-poison  in  the  streets.  I  was  told  by  some 
persons  that  he  was  selling  a  first-rate  thing,  and  I  spent 
several  days  to  find  him  out.  But,  after  all,  his  secret  proved 
to  be  nothing  at  all.  It  was  train-oil,  linseed  and  hempseed, 
crushed  up  all  together,  and  the  bugs  were  to  eat  it  till  they 

"After  all,  secrets  for  bug-poisons  ain't  worth  much,  for 
all  depends  upon  the  application  of  them.  For  instance,  it 
is  often  the  case  that  I  am  sent  for  to  find  out  one  bug  in  a 
room  large  enough  for  a  school.  I've  discovered  it  when 
the  creature  had  been  three  or  four  months  there,  as  I  could 
tell  by  his  having  changed  his  jacket  so  often,  for  bugs  shed 
their  skins,  you  know.  No,  there  was  no  reason  that  he 
should  have  bred  ;  it  might  have  been  a  single  gentleman  or 
an  old  maid. 

"A  married  couple  of  bugs  will  lay  from  forty  to  fifty  eggs 
at  one  laying.  The  eggs  are  oval,  and  are  each  as  large  as 
the  thirty-second  part  of  an  inch ;  and  when  together  are 
in  the  shape  of  a  caraway  comfit,  and  of  a  bluish-white 
color.  They'll  lay  this  quantity  of  eggs  three  times  in  a 
season.  The  young  ones  are  hatched  direct  from  the  ^^g^ 
and,  like  young  partridges,  will  often  carry  the  broken  eggs 



about  with  them,  clinging  to  their  back.  They  get  their 
fore- quarters  out,  and  then  they  run  about  before  the  other 
legs  are  completely  cleared. 

"As  soon  as  the  bugs  are  born  they  are  of  a  cream  color, 
and  will  take  to  blood  directly  ;  indeed,  if  they  don't  get  it 
in  two  or  three  days,  they  die  ;  but  after  one  feed  they  will 
live  a  considerable  time  without  a  second  meal.  I  have 
known  old  bugs  to  be  frozen  over  in  a  horse-pond — when 
the  furniture  had  been  thrown  in  the  water — and  there  they 
have  remained  for  a  good  three  weeks  ;  still,  after  they  have 
got  a  little  bit  warm  in  the  sun's  rays,  they  have  returned  to 
life  again. 

"  I  myself  kept  bugs  for  five  years  and  a  half  without 

food,  and  a  housekeeper  at  Lord  H 's  informed  me 

that  an  old  bedstead  that  I  was  then  moving  from  a  store- 
room was  taken  down  forty-five  years  ago,  and  had  not  been 
used  since,  but  the  bugs  in  it  were  still  numerous,  though  as 
thin  as  living  skeletons.  They  couldn't  have  lived  upon  the 
sap  of  the  wood,  it  being  worm-eaten  arid  dry  as  a  bone.  A 
bug  will  live  for  a  number  of  years,  and  we  find  that  when 
bugs  are  put  away  in  old  furniture  without  food,  they  don't 
increase  in  number  ;  so  that,  according  to  my  belief,  the  bugs 
I  just  mentioned  must  have  existed  forty-five  years  :  besides, 
they  were  large  ones,  and  very  dark  colored,  which  is  an- 
other proof  of  age. 

"  It  is  a  dangerous  thing  for  bugs  when  they  are  shedding 
their  skins,  which  they  do  about  four  times  in  the  course  of 
a  year ;  when  they  throw  ofl*  their  hard  shell  and  have  a 
soft  coat,  so  that  the  least  touch  will  kill  them  ;  whereas  at 
other  times  they  will  take  a  strong  pressure.  I  have  plenty 
of  bug-skins,  which  I  keep  by  me  as  curiosities,  of  all  sizes 
and  colors,  and  sometimes  I  have  found  the  young  bugs 
collected  inside  the  old  ones' skins  for  warmth,  as  if  they  had 
put  on  their  father's  great-coat.  There  are  white  bugs — 
albinoes  you  may  call  'em — freaks  of  nature  like."^ 

^  London  Labor  and  the  London  Poor,  iii.  36-9. 


Notonectidse — Water-boatmen. 

Humboldt  mentions  that  he  saw  insects'  eggs  sold  in  the 
markets  of  Mexico,  which  were  collected  on  the  surface  of 
lakes.  Under  the  name  of  Axayacat,  these  eggs,  or  those 
of  some  other  species  of  fly,  deposited  on  rush  mats,  are 
sold  as  a  caviare  in  Mexico.  Rev.  Thomas  Smith,  who 
makes  the  same  statement,  also  says  the  Mexicans  likewise 
eat  the  flies  themselves,  ground  and  made  up  with  saltpetre. 
Something  similar  to  these  eggs,  found  in  the  pools  of  the 
desert  of  Fezzan,  serves  the  Arabs  for  food,  having  the  taste 
of  caviare. 

In  the  Bulletin  de  la  Societe  Imperiale  Zoologique  d'Ac- 
climation,  M.  Guerin  Meneville  has  published  a  paper  on  a 
sort  of  bread  which  the  Mexicans  make  of  the  eggs  of 
three  species  of  heteropterous  insects. 

According  to  M.  Craveri,  by  whom  some  of  the  Mexican 
bread,  and  of  the  insects  yielding  it,  were  brought  to  Europe, 
these  insects  and  their  eggs  are  very  common  in  the  fresh 
waters  of  the  lagunes  of  Mexico.  The  natives  cultivate,  in 
the  lagune  of  Chalco,  a  sort  of  carex  called  toute,  on  which 
the  insects  readily  deposit  their  eggs.  Numerous  bundles 
of  these  plants  are  made,  which  are  taken  to  a  lagune,  the 
Texcuco,  where  they  float  in  great  numbers  in  the  water. 
The  insects  soon  come  and  deposit  their  eggs  on  the  plants, 
and  in  about  a  month  the  bundles  are  removed  from  the 
water,  dried,  and  then  beaten  over  a  large  cloth  to  separate 
the  myriad  of  eggs  with  which  the  insects  have  covered 
them.  These  eggs  are  then  cleaned  and  sifted,  put  into 
sacks  like  flour,  and  sold  to  the  people  for  making  a  sort 
of  cake  or  biscuit  called  "hautle,"  which  forms  a  tolerably 
good  food,  but  has  a  fishy  taste,  and  is  slightly  acid.  The 
bundles  of  carex  are  replaced  in  the  lake,  and  afford  a  fresh 
supply  of  eggs,  which  process  may  be  repeaited  for  an  iu'deti- 
Dite  number  of  times. 

It  appears  that  these  insects  have  been  used  from  an 
early  period,  for  Thomas  Gage,  a  religionist,  who  sailed  to 
Mexico  in  1625,  says,  in  speaking  of  articles  sold  in  the 
markets,  that  they  had  cakes  made  of  a  sort  of  scum  col- 
lected from  the  lakes  of  Mexico,  and  that  this  was  also  sold 
in  other  towns. 

Brantz  Mayer,  in  his  Mexico  as  it  was  and  as  it  is,  1844, 


says:  "  On  the  lake  of  Texcuco  I  saw  men  occupied  in  col- 
lecting the  eggs  of  flies  from  the  surface  of  plants,  and 
cloths  arranged  in  long  rows  as  places  of  resort  for  the 
insects.  These  eggs,  called  agayacath,  formed  a  favorite 
food  of  the  Indians  long  before  the  conquest ;  and  when 
made  into  cakes,  resemble  the  roe  of  fish,  having  a  similar 
taste  and  appearance.  After  the  use  of  frogs  in  France, 
and  birds'-nests  in  China,  I  think  these  eggs  may  be  con- 
sidered a  delicacy,  and  I  found  that  they  are  not  rejected 
from  the  tables  of  the  fashionable  inhabitants  of  the 

The  more  recent  observations  of  MM.  Saussure,  Salle, 
Yirlet  d' A  oust,  etc.  have  confirmed  the  facts  already  stated, 
at  least  in  the  most  essential  particulars. 

"  The  insects  which  principally  produce  this  animal  farinha 
of  Mexico,"  says  a  writer  in  the  Journal  de  Pharmacie,  "  are 
two  species  of  the  genus  Gorixa  of  Geoffroy,  hemipterous 
(heteropterous)  insects  of  the  family  of  water-bugs.  One 
of  the  species  has  been  described  by  M.  Guerin  Meneville  as 
new,  and  has  been  named  by  him  Corixa  femorata :  the 
other,  identified  in  1831  by  Thomas  Say  as  one  of  those  sold 
in  the  market  at  Mexico,  bears  the  name  of  Gorixa  mercen- 
aria.  The  eggs  of  these  two  species  are  attached  in  innu- 
merable quantities  to  the  triangular  leaves  of  the  carex 
forming  the  bundles  which  are  deposited  in  the  waters. 
They  are  of  an  oval  form  with  a  protuberance  at  one  end 
and  a  pedicle  at  the  other  extremity,  by  means  of  which 
they  are  fixed  to  a  small  round  disk,  which  the  mother 
cements  to  the  leaf  Among  these  eggs,  which  are  grouped 
closely  together,  there  are  found  others,  which  are  larger,  of 
a  long  and  cylindrical  form,  and  which  are  fixed  to  the 
same  leaves.  These  belong  to  another  larger  insect,  a 
species  of  Notonecia,  which  M.  Guerin  Meneville  has  named 
Notonecta  unifasciata.''^ 

It  appears  from  M.  Yirlet  d'Aoust,  that  in  October  the 
lakes  of  Chalco  and  Texcuco,  which  border  on  the  City  of 
Mexico,  are  haunted  by  millions  of  "small  flies,"  which,  after 
dancing  in  the  air,  plunge  down  into  the  water,  to  the  depth 
of  several  feet,  and  deposit  tlieir  eggs  at  the  bottom, 

"The  eggs  of  these  insects  are  called  hautle  (haoutle)  by 
the  Mexican  Indians,  who  collect  them  in  great  numbers, 
and  with  whom  they  appear  to  be  a  favorite  article  of  food. 


They  are  prepared  in  various  ways,  but  usually  made  into 
cakes,  which  are  eaten  with  a  sauce  flavored  with  chillies."^ 
Rev.  Thomas  Smith  enumerates  the  following  insects  as 
eaten  by  the  ancient  Mexicans :  The  Atelepitz,  "  a  marsh 
beetle,  resembling  in  shape  and  size  the  flying  beetles,  having 
four  (?)  feet,  and  covered  with  a  hard  shell."  The  Alojnnan, 
"  a  marsh  grasshopper  of  a  dark  color  and  great  size, 
being  no  less  than  six  inches  long  and  two  broad. "(!)  The 
Ahuihuitla,  "  a  worm  which  inhabits  the  Mexican  lakes,  four 
inches  long,  and  of  the  thickness  of  a  goose  quill,  of  a 
tawny  color  on  the  upper  part  of  the  body,  and  white  upon 
the  under  part;  it  stings  with  its  tail,  which  is  hard  and 
poisonous."  And  the  Ocuiliztac,  "a  black  marsh  worm, 
which  becomes  white  on  being  roasted."^ 

1  Annals  of  Nat.  Hist.     Simmond's  Curiosities  of  Food,  p.  308-311. 
'^Nature  and  Art,  xii.  198. 


D  I  P  T  E  R  A. 

Culicidae — Gnats.^ 

Concerning  the  generation  of  Gnats,  Moufet  says  : 
"  Countrey  people  suppose  them,  and  that  not  improbably, 
to  be  procreated  from  some  corrupt  moisture  of  the  earth.  "^ 

A  battle  of  Gnats  (probably  an  appearance  of  Ephemera) 
is  recorded  in  Stow's  Chronicles  of  England,  p.  509,  to  have 
been  fought  in  the  reign  of  King  Richard  II.:  *' A  fighting 
among  Gnats  at  the  King's  maner  of  Shine,  where  they  were 
so  thicke  gathered,  that  the  aire  was  darkened  with  them  : 
they  fought  and  made  a  great  battaile.  Two  partes  of  them 
being  slayne,  fel  downe  to  the  grounde ;  the  thirde  parte 
hauing  got  the  victorie,  flew  away,  no  man  knew  whither. 
The  number  of  the  deade  was  such  that  they  might  be 
swept  uppe  with  besomes,  and  bushels  filled  weyth  them."^ 

In  the  year  1T36  the  Gnats,  Culex  pipiens,  were  so 
numerous  in  England,  that,  as  it  is  recorded,  vast  columns 
of  them  were  seen  to  rise  in  the  air  from  the  steeple  of  the 
cathedral  at  Salisbury,  which,  at  a  little  distance  resembling 
columns  of  smoke,  occasioned  many  people  to  think  the  edi- 
fice was  on  fire.*  At  Sagan,  in  Silesia,  in  July,  1812,  a 
similar  occurrence  gave  rise  in  like  manner  to  an  alarm 
that  the  church  was  on  fire.^  In  May  of  the  following  year 
at  Norwich,  at  about  six  o'clock  in  the  evening,  the  inhabit- 
ants of  that  city  were  alarmed  by  the  appearance  of  smoke 
issuing  from  the  upper  window  of  the  spire  of  the  cathedral, 

^  Tlie  numerous  family  of  Culicidse  are  confounded  under  the  com- 
mon names  of  Gnat  and  Mosquito;  hence  many  mistakes  will  neces- 
sarily arise. 

2  Theat.  Ins.,  p.  81.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  952. 

3  Quot.  in  N.  &  Q.,  ix.  3U3 

*  Fhil.  Trans.,    Ivii.  113;  Bingley's  Anim.  Biog.,  iv.  205. 

*  Germar's  Mag.  der  Entoviol.,  i.  137. 



for  which  at  the  time  no  satisfactory  account  could  be  giv^en, 
but  which  was  most  probably  produced  by  the  same  cause. ^ 
And  in  the  year  1766,  in  the  month  of  August,  they  ap- 
peared in  such  incredible  numbers  at  Oxford  as  to  resemble 
a  black  cloud,  darkening  the  air  and  almost  intercepting 
the  rays  of  the  sun.  Mr.  John  Swinton  mentions,  that  in 
the  evening  of  the  20th,  about  half  an  hour  before  sunset, 
he  was  in  the  garden  of  Wadham  College,  when  he  saw  six 
columns  of  these  insects  ascending  from  the  tops  of  six 
boughs  of  an  apple-tree,  two  in  a  perpendicular,  three  in  an 
oblique  direction,  and  one  in  a  pyramidal  form,  to  the  height 
of  fifty  or  sixty  feet.  Their  bite  was  so  envenomed,  that 
it  was  attended  by  violent  and  alarming  inflammation;  and 
one  when  killed  usually  contained  as  much  blood  as  would 
cover  three  or  four  square  inches  of  wall.^  A  similar  column, 
of  two  or  three  feet  in  diameter  and  about  twenty  feet  in 
height,  was  seen  at  eight  o'clock  in  the  evening  of  Sunday, 
July  14th,  1833,  in  Kensington  Gardens.  The  upper  por- 
tion of  the  column  being  curved  to  the  east,  the  whole  re- 
sembled the  letter  J  inverted.  The  Gnats  in  every  part  of 
the  column  were  in  the  liveliest  motion.'^  The  author  of  the 
"Faerie  Queene"  seems  to  have  witnessed  the  like  curious 
phenomenon,  which  furnished  him  with  the  following  beau- 
tiful simile : 

As  when  a  swarme  of  gnats  at  eventide 

Out  of  the  fennes  of  Allan  doe  arise, 

Their  murmuring  small  trumpets  sownden  wide, 

Whiles  in  the  air  their  clust'ring  army  ilies, 

That  as  a  cloud  doth  seem  to  dim  the  skies; 

Ne  man  nor  beast  may  rest  or  take  repast, 

For  their  sharp  wounds  and  noyous  injuries, 

Till  the  fierce  northern  wind  with  blust'ring  blast 

Doth  blow  them  quite  away,  and  in  the  ocean  cast. 

Ligon,  in  his  History  of  Barbados,  makes  the  following 
curious  observation  relative  to  a  species  of  insects  which  he 
calls  "Flyes,"  but  which  are  more  probably  Gnats  or  Mos- 
quitoes :  "  There  is  not  only  a  race  of  all  these  kinds,  that 
go  in  a  generation,  but  upon  new  occasions,  new  kinds ;  as, 
after  a  great  downfall  of  rain,  when  the  ground  has  been 

1  K.  &  S.  Introd.,  i.  114. 
^  Phil.  Trans.,  Ivii.  112-3. 
»  Mag.  of  Nat.  Hist.,  vi.  545. 

280  CULICID.^ — GNATS. 

extremely  moistened,  and  softened  with  the  water,  I  have 
walk'd  out  upon  a  dry  walk  (which  I  made  my  self)  in  an 
evening,  and  there  came  about  me  an  army  of  such  Flyes, 
as  I  had  never  seen  before,  nar  after ;  and  they  rose,  as  I 
conceived,  out  of  the  earth :  They  were  as  big  bodied  as 
Bees,  but  far  larger  wings,  harm  they  did  us  none,  but  only 
lighted  on  us ;  their  colour  between  ash-colour  and  purple."^ 

If  Gnats  swarm  in  the  summer  in  globular  masses,  it  is 
supposed  to  prognosticate  a  storm.  Moufet  says:  "If 
Gnats  near  sunset  do  play  up  and  down  in  open  air,  they 
presage  heat;  if  in  the  shade,  warm  and  milde  showers; 
but  if  they  altogether  sting  those  that  passe  by  them,  then 
expect  cold  weather  and  very  much  rain.  ...  If  any  one 
would  finde  water  either  in  a  hill  or  valley,  let  him  observe 
(saith  Paxanus  in  Geoponika)  the  sun  rising,  and  where 
the  Gnats  whirle  round  in  form  of  an  obelisk,  underneath 
there  is  water  to  be  found.  Yea,  if  Apomasaris  deceive  us 
not,  dreams  of  Gnats  do  foretell  news  of  war  or  a  disease, 
and  that  so  much  the  more  dangerous  as  it  shall  be  appre- 
hended to  approach  the  more  principall  parts  of  the  body."^ 

"On  the  14th  of  December,  1830,  at  Oremburg,  snow  fell 
accompanied  by  a  multitude  of  small  black  Gnats,  whose 
motions  were  similar  to  those  of  a  flea."  This  singular 
phenomenon  was  described  at  the  session  of  the  Academy 
of  St.  Petersburg,  held  February  21st,  1831.^ 

The  pertinacity  of  the  Culicidse  frequently  renders  them 
a  most  formidable  pest.  Humboldt  tells  us  "that  between 
the  little  harbor  of  Higuerote  and  the  mouth  of  the  Rio 
Unare,  the  wretched  inhabitants  are  accustomed  to  stretch 
themselves  on  the  ground,  and  pass  the  night  buried  in  the 
sand  three  or  four  inches  deep,  exposing  only  the  head, 
which  they  cover  with  a  handkerchief."*  As  another  proof 
of  the  terrible  state  to  which  man  is  sometimes  reduced  by 
Mosquitoes,  Captain  Stedman  relates  that  in  one  of  his 

1  Hist,  of  Barbados fT^.  63. 

2  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  86.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  956. 

3  Silliman's  Journal,  xxii.  375. 

*■  Personal  Narrative,  E.  T.  v.  87.  Humboldt  has  given  a  detailed 
account  of  these  insect  plagues,  by  which  it  appears  that  among 
them  there  are  diurnal  and  crepuscular,  as  well  as  nocturnal  spe- 
cies, or  genera:  tlie  Mosquitoes,  signifying  little  jiies  (Simulia),  tiy- 
ing  in  the  day;  the  Temporaneros,  flying  during  twilight;  and  the 
Zancudos,  meaning  long-legs  [Culices),  in  the  night. 


dreadful  marches,  the  clouds  of  them  were  such,  that  the 
soldiers  dug  holes  with  their  bayonets  in  the  earth,  mto 
which  they  thrust  their  heads,  stopping  the  entry  and  cov- 
ering their  necks  with  their  hammocks,  while  they  lay  with 
their  bellies  on  the  ground:  to  sleep  in  any  other  position 
was  absolutely  impossible.  He  himself,  by  a  negro's  ad- 
vice, climbed  to  the  top  of  the  highest  tree  he  could  find, 
and  there  slung  his  hammock  among  the  boughs,  and  slept 
exalted  nearly  a  hundred  feet  above  his  companions, 
"whom,"  says  he,  "I  could  not  see  for  the  myriads  of  mos- 
quitoes below  me,  nor  even  hear,  from  the  incessant  buzzing 
of  these  troublesome  insects."^ 

" The  Gnats  in  America,"  says  Moufet,  ''do  so  plash  and 
cut,  that  they  will  pierce  through  very  thick  clothing ;  so 
that  it  is  excellent  sport  to  behold  how  ridiculously  the  bar- 
barous people,  when  they  are  bitten,  will  skip  and  frisk,  and 
slap  with  their  hands  their  thighs,  buttocks,  shoulders,  arms, 
and  sides,  even  as  a  carter  doth  his  horses."^  Isaac  Weld 
tells  us  that  ''these  insects  were  so  powerful  and  blood- 
thirsty that  they  actually  pierced  through  General  Wash- 
ington's boots.  "^  They  probably  crept  within  the  boots, 
but  the  story  is  not  incredible  if  we  believe  Moufet.  This 
naturalist  says :  "  In  Italy,  near  the  Po,  great  store  and 
very  great  ones  are  to  be  seen,  terrible  for  biting,  and  ven- 
omous, piercing  -through  a  thrice-doubled  stocking,  and 
boots  likewise  (morsu  crudeles  et  venenati,  triplices  call- 
gas,  imo  ocreas,  item  perforantes),  sometimes  leaving  be- 
hind them  impoysoned,  hard,  blue  tumours,  sometimes 
painful  bladders,  sometimes  itching  pimples,  such  as  Hip- 
pocrates hath  observed  in  his  Epidemics,  in  the  body  of  one 
Cyrus,  a  fuller,  being  frantic."* 

The  poet  Spenser,  in  his  View  of  Ireland,  says  the  Irish 
"  goe  all  naked  except  a  mantle,  which  is  a  fit  house  for  an 
outlaw — a  meet  bed  for  a  rebel — and  an  apt  cloak  for  a 
thiefe.  It  coucheth  him  strongly  against  the  Gnats,  which, 
in  that  country,  doe  more  to  annoy  the  naked  rebels,  and 

1  Stedra.  Surinam,  ii.  93. 
^  Ins.  Theatr.,  p.  82. 
8  Travels,  8vo.  edit.  p.  205. 
*  Ins.  Theatr.,  p.  81. 



doe   more  sliarplj  wound  them,   than   all  their  enemies' 
swords  and  speares,  which  can  seldom  come  nigh  them." 

Stewart  says  that  the  negroes  of  Jamaica,  who  cannot 
afford  mosquito-nets,  get  into  a  mechanical  habit  of  driving 
away  these  troublesome  nocturnal  visitors,  that  even  when 
apparently  wrapt  in  profound  sleep,  there  is  a  continual 
movement  of  the  hands.^ 

Herodotus  says :  "The  means  devised  by  the  Egyptians 
to  avoid  the  Gnats,  which  swarm  in  prodigious  numbers, 
are  these  :  Those  who  reside  at  some  elevation  above  the 
marshes,  avail  themselves  of  towers  which  they  ascend  to 
sleep ;  for  the  Gnats,  to  avoid  the  winds,  do  not  fly  high. 
While  those  who  dwell  on  the  very  margins  of  the  marshes, 
instead  of  towers,  practise  another  contrivance.  Everyman 
possesses  a  net,  which,  during  the  day,  he  employs  in  catch- 
ing fish,  and  which  at  night  he  uses  as  his  bed-chamber, 
where  he  places  it  over  his  couch,  and  so  sleeps  ^^^thin  it. 
For  if  any  one,"  he  concludes,  "  sleeps  wrapped  in  a  cloak 
or  cloth,  the  Gnats  will  bite  him  through  it;  but  they  never 
attempt  to  penetrate  the  net."^  With  regard  to  the  con- 
clusion of  Herodotus,  that  nets  with  meshes  will  effectually 
exclude  Gnats,  Tennent  says  he  has  "been  satisfied  by 
painful  experience  that  (if  the  theory  be  not  altogether 
fallacious)  at  least  the  modern  mosquitoes  of  Ceylon  are 
uninfluenced  by  the  same  considerations  which  restrained 
those  of  the  Nile  under  the  successors  of  Cambyses."^ 

Jackson  complains  that  after  a  fifty-miles  journey  in 
Africa,  the  Gnats  would  not  suffer  him  to  rest,  and  that  his 
hands  and  face  appeared,  from  their  bites,  as  if  he  was  in- 
fected with  the  small-pox  in  its  worst  stage.*  Dr.  Clarke 
relates  that  in  the  neighborhood  of  the  Crimea,  the  Russian 
soldiers  are  obliged  to  sleep  in  sacks  to  defend  themselves 
from  the  mosquitoes  ;  and  even  this,  he  adds,  is  not  a  suffi- 
cient security,  for  several  of  them  die  in  consequence  of 
mortification  produced  by  these  furious  blood-suckers.^ 

When  we  consider  these  circumstances,  it  is  not  incredi- 
ble that  the  army  of  Julian  the  Apostate  should  be  so 

1  View  of  Jamaica,  p    91. 

2  Herod.     Taylor's  Trans.,  p.  141. 

3  Nat.  Hist,  of  Cei/lon,  p.  435, 
*  Jackson's  Morocco,  p.  57. 

&  Travels,  i.  388. 


fiercely  attacked  by  these  insects  as  to  be  driven  baclv ;  or 
tliat  the  inhabitants  of  various  cities,  as  Mouffet  has  col- 
lected from  different  authors,^  should,  by  an  extraordinary 
multiplication  of  this  plague,  have  been  compelled  to  desert 
them.  Also  the  latter  part  of  the  following  story,  related 
by  Theodoret,  seems  entitled  to  belief:  When  Sapor,  King 
of  Persia,  says  this  historian,  was  besieging  the  Roman 
City  of  Nisibis  in  the  year  360,  James,  Bishop  of  that  city, 
ascended  one  of  the  towers,  and  "  prayed  that  Flies  and 
Gnats  might  be  sent  against  the  Persian  hosts,  that  so  they 
might  learn  from  these  small  insects  the  great  power  of 
Him  who  protected  the  Romans."  Scarcely  had  the 
Bishop  concluded  his  prayer,  continues  Theodoret,  when 
swarms  of  Flies  and  Gnats  appeared  like  clouds,  so  that 
the  trunks  of  the  elephants  were  filled  with  them,  as  also 
were  the  ears  and  nostrils  of  the  horses  and  of  the  other 
beasts  of  burden;  and  that,  not  being  able  to  get  rid  of 
these  insects,  the  elephants  and  horses  threw  their  riders, 
broke  the  ranks,  left  the  army,  and  fled  away  with  the  ut- 
most speed ;  and  this,  he  concludes,  compelled  the  Persians 
to  raise  the  siege. ^ 

"As  the  Cossacks  of  the  Black  Sea  are  no  agriculturists," 
says  Jaeger,  "  but  derive  their  subsistence  from  their  numer- 
ous herds  of  horses,  oxen,  sheep,  goats,  and  hogs,  they  suffer 
immensely,  at  times,  from  the  ravages  of  the  mosquitoes. 
Although  they  are  fortunately  not  seen  every  year,  these 
blood-suckers  may  be  considered  a  real  Egyptian  plague 
among  the  herds  of  these  Cossacks ;  for  they  soon  trans- 
form the  most  delightful  plains  into  a  mournful,  solitary 
desert,  killing  all  the  beasts,  and  completely  stripping  the 
fields  of  every  animated  creature.  One  thousand  of  these 
insatiate  tormentors  enter  the  nostrils,  ears,  eyes,  and  mouth 
of  the  cattle,  who  shortly  after  die  in  convulsions,  or  from 
secondary  inflammation,  or  from  absolute  suffocation.  In 
the  small  town  of  Elizabethpol  alone,  during  the  month 
of  June,  thirty  horses,  forty  foals,  seventy  oxen,  ninety 
calves,  a  hundred  and  fifty  hogs,  and  four  hundred  sheep 
were  killed  by  these  flies.  "^ 

Ammianus  Marcellinus,  in  his  Roman  History,  treating 

1  Ins.  Theatr.,  p  85. 

2  Theod.  Eccles.  Hist.,  B.  ii.  cli.  xxx. 
^  N.A.Ins.,  p.  317. 


of  the  wild  beasts  in  Mesopotamia,  gives  us  the  following 
curious  zoological  theory  on  the  destruction  of  lions  by 
mosquitoes : 

"The  lions  wander  in  countless  droves  among  the  beds 
of  rushes  on  the  banks  of  the  rivers  of  Mesopotamia,  and  in 
the  jungles,  and  lie  quiet  all  the  winter,  which  is  very  mild 
in  that  country.  But  when  the  warm  weather  returns,  as 
these  regions  are  exposed  to  great  heat,  they  are  forced  out 
by  the  vapours,  and  by  the  size  of  the  Gnats,  with  swarms 
of  which  every  part  of  that  country  is  filled.  And  these 
winged  insects  attack  the  eyes,  as  being  both  moist  and 
sparkling,  sitting  on  and  biting  the  eyelids;  the  lions,  un- 
able to  bear  the  torture,  are  either  drowned  in  the  rivers,  to 
which  they  flee  for  refuge,  or  else,  by  frequent  scratchings, 
tear  their  eyes  out  themselves  with  tli^r  claws,  and  then 
become  mad.  And  if  this  did  not  happen,  the  whole  of  the 
East  would  be  overrun  with  beasts  of  this  kind."^ 

I  have  never  heard  of  mosquitoes  being  turned  to  any 
good  account  save  in  California;  and  there,  it  seems,  ac- 
cording to  Rev.  Walter  Colton,  they  are  sometimes  made 
the  ministers  of  justice.  A  rogue  had  stolen  a  bag  of  gold 
from  a  digger  in  the  mines,  and  hid  it.  Neither  threats  nor 
persuasions  could  induce  him  to  reveal  the  place  of  its  con- 
cealment. Ife  was  at  last  sentenced  to  a  hundred  lashes, 
and  then  informed  that  he  would  be  let  off  with  thirty,  pro- 
vided he  would  tell  what  he  had  done  with  the  gold ;  but 
he  refused.  The  thirty  lashes  were  administered,  but  he 
was  still  stubborn  as  a  mule.  He  was  then  stripped  naked, 
and  tied  to  a  tree.  The  mosquitoes  with  their  long  bills 
went  at  him,  and  in  less  than  three  hours  he  was  covered 
with  blood.  Writhing  and  trembling  from  head  to  foot 
with  exquisite  torture,  he  exclaimed,  "  Untie  me,  untie  me, 
and  I  will  tell  where  it  is."  "  Tell  first,"  was  the  reply.  So 
he  told  where  it  might  be  found.  Then  some  of  the  party 
with  wisps  kept  ott"  the  still  hungry  mosquitoes,  while 
others  went  where  the  culprit  directed,  and  recovered  the 
bag  of  gold.  He  was  then  untied,  washed  with  cold  water, 
and  helped  to  his  clothes,  while  he  muttered,  as  if  talking  to 
himself,  ''I  couldn't  stand  that  anyhow.'" 

The  largest  kind  of  mosquito  in  the  valley  of  the  lower 

1  Roman  History,  B.  xviii.  c.  7,  §  5. 
^  Three  Years  in  California,  p.  lioO, 


Mississippi  is  called  the  "Gallinipper."  It  is  peculiarly 
described,  by  the  boatmen,  to  be  as  large  as  a  goose,  and 
that  it  flies  about  at  night  with  a  brickbat  under  its  wings 
with  which  it  sharpens  its  "sting." 

The}^  tell  a  good  story  to  show  the  superiority  of  the 
Gallinipper,  over  the  ordinary  Mosquito,  in  this  wise. 
Some  fellow  made  a  bet  that,  for  a  certain  length  of  time, 
he  could  stand  the  stings  of  the  mosquitoes  inflicted  upon 
his  bare  back  while  he  lay  on  his  face.  He  stripped  himself 
for  the  ordeal,  and  was  bearing  it  manfully,  when  some  mis- 
chievous spectator  threw  a  live  coal  of  fire  on  him.  He 
winced,  and,  looking  up  by  way  of  protest,  exclaimed,  "1 
bar  (debar)  the  GalUnipper," 

The  Culicidae,  say  Kirby  and  Spence,  like  other  con- 
querors who  have  been  the  torment  of  the  human  race, 
have  attained  to  fame,  and  have  given  their  names  to  bays, 
towns,  and  even  to  considerable  territories;  and  instance 
Mosquito  Bay  in  St.  Christopher's;  Mosquito,  a  town  in 
the  Island  of  Cuba ;  and  the  Mosquito  Shore  of  Central 

Democritus  says  :  "  Horse-hair,  stretched  through  the 
door,  and  through  the  middle  of  the  house,  destroys 
Gnats.  "^ 

St.  Macarius,  Alban  Butler  says,  was  a  confectioner  of 
Alexandria,  who,  in  the  flower  of  his  age,  spent  upwards  of 
sixty  years  in  the  deserts  in  labor,  penance,  and  contempla- 
tion. "  Our  Saint,"  continues  Butler,  ''happened  one  day  to 
inadvertently  kill  a  Gnat  that  was  biting  him  in  his  cell; 
reflecting  that  he  had  lost  the  opportunity  of  suffering  that 
mortification,  he  hastened  from  the  cell  for  the  marshes  of 
Scete,  which  abound  with  great  flies,  whose  stings  pierce 
even  wild  boars.  There  he  continued  six  months,  exposed 
to  those  ravaging  insects ;  and  to  such  a  degree  was  his 
whole  body  disfigured  by  them  with  sores  and  swellings, 
that  when  he  returned  he  was  only  to  be  known  by  his 
voice.  "^ 

In  the  old  English  translation  of  the  Bible,  the  observa- 
tion of  our  Saviour  to  the  Pharisees,  "Ye  blind  guides, 
which  strain  at  a  Gnat,  and  swallow  a  camel,"  is  rendered 

1  Introd.,  i.  119. 

2  Owen's  Gf.opom'ka,  ii.  150. 
5  Lives  of  the  Saints,  i.  50. 



"  which  strain  out  a  Gnat,"  and  Bishop  Pearce  observes 
that  this  is  conformable  to  the  sense  of  the  passage.  An 
allusion  is  made  to  the  custom  which  prevailed  in  Oriental 
countries  of  passing  their  wine  and  other  liquors  through  a 
strainer,  that  no  Gnats  or  flies  might  get  into  the  cup.  In 
the  Fragments  to  Calmet,  we  are  informed  that  there  is  a 
modern  Arabic  proverb  to  this  effect,  "He  swallowed  an 
elephant,  but  was  strangled  by  a  fly."^ 

Tipulidae — Crane-flies. 

The  larv86  of  a  species  of  Agaric-Gnat  {Mycetophila) 
live  in  society,  and  emigrate  in  files  in  a  very  soldier-like 
manner.  First  goes  one,  next  follow  two,  then  three,  etc., 
so  as  to  exhibit  a  singular  serpentine  appearance.  The 
common  people  of  Germany  call  this  file  heerwurm,  and, 
it  is  said,  view  them  with  great  dread,  regarding  them  as 
ominous  of  war. •^ 

Maupertuis,  in  describing  his  ascent  to  Mount  Pulinga, 
in  Lapland,  says:  "They  had  to  fell  a  w^hole  wood  of  large 
trees,  and  the  Flies  (most  probably  Tipulidm)  attack'd  'em 
with  that  fury,  that  the  very  soldiers,  tho'  hardeu'd  to  the 
greatest  fatigues,  were  obliged  to  rap  up  their  faces,  or 
cover  them  with  tar.  These  insects  poison'd  their  victuals, 
for  no  sooner  was  a  dish  serv'd,  but  it  was  quite  covered 
with  them. "^  Maupertuis,  in  another  place,  says  :  "These 
Flies  make  Lapland  less  tolerable  in  the  summer  than  the 
cold  does  in  the  winter."*  The  severity  with  which  the 
Tipulidie  torment  the  Laplanders  is  attested  also  by  Acerby,^ 
Linna?us,^  I)e  Geer,"  and  Reaumur.^ 

1  Lawson's  Bible  Cyclop.,  ii.  558,  3  v.  8vo. 

2  Kirb.  and  Sp.  Introd  ,  ii.  8. 

3  GenLM'ig.,  1738,  viii.  577.  •»  Ibid.,  xxiv.  27-i. 

5  Travels,  ii.  5;  34-5;  51.  Lond.  1802.  4to. 

6  Lack.  Lapp  ,  ii.  108.     Flor.  Lapp.,  380. 

7  V.  vi.  p.  ti03-4. 

8  V.  ix.  p.  573. 


Muscidse — Flies. 

Among  the  instances  recorded  of  Flies  appearing  in  im- 
mense numbers,  the  following  are  the  most  remarkable : 

"When  the  Creole  frigate  was  lying  in  the  outer  roads 
of  "Buenos  Ayres,  in  1819,  at  a  distance  of  six  miles  from 
the  land,  her  decks  and  rigging  were  suddenly  covered  with 
thousands  of  Flies  and  grains  of  sand.  The  sides  of  the 
vessel  had  just  received  a  fresh  coat  of  paint,  to  which  the 
insects  adhered  in  such  numbers  as  to  spot  and  disfigure 
the  vessel,  and  to  render  it  necessary  partially  to  renew  the 
paint.  Capt.  W.  H.  Smyth  was  obliged  to  repaint  his  ves- 
sel, the  Adventure,  in  the  Mediterranean,  from  the  same 
cause.  He  was  on  his  way  from  Malta  to  Tripoli,  when  a 
southern  wind  blowing  from  the  coast  of  Africa,  then  one 
hundred  miles  distant,  drove  such  myriads  of  Flies  upon  the 
fresh  paint  that  not  the  smallest  point  was  left  unoccupied 
by  the  insects."^ 

"  In  May,  1699,  at  Kerton,"  records  Mrs.  Thoresby,  p.  15, 
"in  Lincolnshire,  the  sky  seemed  to  darken  north-westward 
at  a  little  distance  from  the  town,  as  though  it  had  been  a 
shower  of  hailstones  or  snow;  but  when  it  came  near  the 
town,  it  appeared  to  be  a  prodigious  swarm  of  Flies,  which 
went  with  such  a  force  toward  the  south  east  that  persons 
were  forced  to  turn  their  backs  of  thera."^ 

On  the  morning  of  the  Hth  of  September,  1831,  a  small 
dipterous  insect,  belonging  to  Meigen's  genus  Chlorops, 
and  nearly  allied  to,  if  not  identical  with,  his  G.  Isela,  ap- 
peared suddenly,  and  in  such  immense  quantities,  in  one  of 
the  upper  rooms  of  the  Provost's  Lodge,  in  King's  College, 
Cambridge,  that  the  greater  part  of  the  ceiling  toward  the 
window  of  the  room  was  so  thickly  covered  as  not  to  be 
visible.  They  entered  by  a  window  looking  due  north, 
while  the  wind  was  blowing  steadily  N.  N.  W.  So  it  ap- 
pears they  came  from  the  direction  of  the  River  Cam,  or 
rather  came  with  its  current.^ 

In  the  summer  of  1834,  which  season  was  remarkable  in 
England  for  its  swarms  and  shoals  of  insects,  the  air  was 

1  Lyell's  Priixc.  of  Geol,  p.  656  . 

2  Southey's  Com.  Place  Bk  ,  1st  S.  p.  567. 

3  Maq.  of  Nat.  Hist  .  V.  302. 


constantly  filled,  says  a  writer  in  The  Mirror,  with  millions 
of  small  delicate  Flies,  and  the  sea  in  many  places,  particu- 
larly on  the  Norfolk  coasts,  was  perfectly  blackened  by  the 
amazing  shoals.  The  len2:th  of  these  masses  was  not  de- 
termined ;  but  they  were,  it  is  asserted,  at  least  a  league 
broad.  It  is  said  the  oldest  fishermen  of  those  seas  never 
remembered  having  seen  or  heard  of  such  a  phenomenon.^ 

Capt.  Dampier  calls  the  natives  of  New  Holland  the 
"poor  winking  people  of  New  Holland,"  and  concludes  his 
description  of  them  with  the  following  observations  :  "  Their 
eyelids  are  always  half  closed,  to  keep  the  Flies  out  of  their 
eyes,  they  being  so  troublesome  here  that  no  fanning  will 
keep  them  from  coming  to  one's  face  ;  and  without  the  as- 
sistance of  both  hands  to  keep  them  off  they  will  creep  into 
one's  nostrils,  and  mouth,  too,  if  the  lips  are  not  shut  very 
close.  So  that  from  their  infancy,  being  thus  annoyed  with 
these  insects,  they  do  never  open  their  eyes  as  ottier  people, 
and  therefore  they  cannot  see  far,  unless  they  hold  up  their 
heads,  as  if  they  were  looking  at  something  over  them."^ 

In  a  house  at  Zaffraan-craal,  Dr.  Sparrman  suffered  so 
much  from  the  common  House-fly,  Masca  domestica, 
which,  in  the  south  of  Africa,  frequently  appears  in  such 
prodigious  numbers  as  to  cover  almost  entirely  the  walls 
and  ceilings,  that,  as  he  asserts,  it  was  impossible  for  him  to 
keep  within  doors  for  any  length  of  time.  To  get  rid  of 
these  troublesome  pests,  the  natives  resort  to  a  very  inge- 
nious contrivance.  It  is  thus  related  by  the  above-men- 
tioned traveler:  "Bunches  of  herbs  are  hung  up  all  over  the 
ceiling,  on  which  the  Flies  settle  in  great  numbers;  a  person 
then  takes  a  linen  net  or  bag,  of  a  considerable  depth,  fixed 
to  a  long  handle,  and,  inclosing  in  it  every  bunch,  shakes  it 
about,  so  that  the  Flies  fall  down  to  the  bottom  of  the 
bag :  when,  after  several  applications  of  it  in  this  manner, 
they  are  killed  by  a  pint  or  a  quart  at  a  time,  by  dipping 
the  bag  into  scalding  hot  water. "^ 

Rhasis,  Avicen,  and  Albertus  say:  "Bury  the  tail  of  a 
wolf  in  the  house,  and  the  Flies  will  not  come  into  it."* 

1  The  Mirror,  xxvii.  68. 

2  Damp.   Voy.  0  (vol.  i.),  464. 

3  Travels,  i.  211. 

*  Moufofs  Theat.  Ins.,  p.  78. 

MUSCID^ — FLIES.  289 

Berytius  says :  "  Flies  will  never  rest  on  dumb  animals  if 
tliey  are  rubbed  with  the  fat  of  a  lion."^ 

Pliny  says  :  "At  Rome  yee  shall  not  have  a  Flie  or  dog 
that  will  enter  into  the  chappell  of  Hercules  standing  in  the 
beast  market."^ 

Plutarch,  in  the  Eighth  Book  of  his  Syraposiaques,  learn- 
edly discourses  upon  the  tamableness  of  the  Fly.  His  opin- 
ion is  that  it  cannot  be  tamed. ^ 

Moufet,  in  his  Theater  of  Insects,  says  :  "  Many  ways 
doth  nature  also  by  Flies  play  with  the  fancies  of  men  in 
dreams,  if  we  may  credit  Apomasaris  in  his  Apotelesms. 
For  the  Indians,  Persians,  and  ^Egyptians  do  teach,  that 
if  Flies  appear  to  us  in  our  sleep,  it  doth  signifie  an  herauld 
at  arms,  or  an  approaching  disease.  If  a  general  of  an 
army,  or  a  chief  commander,  dream  that  at  such  or  such  a 
place  he  should  see  a  great  company  of  Flies,  in  that  very 
place,  wherever  it  shall  be,  there  he  shall  be  in  anguish  and 
grief  for  his  soldiers  that  are  slain,  his  army  routed,  and  the 
victory  lost.  If  a  mean  or  ordinary  man  dream  the  like, 
he  shall  fall  into  a  violent  fever,  which  likely  may  cost  him 
his  life.  If  a  man  dream  in  his  sleep  that  Flies  went  into 
his  mouth  or  nostrils,  he  is  to  expect  with  great  sorrow  and 
grief  imminent  destruction  from  his  enemies."* 

In  an  English  North  country  chap-book,  entitled  the 
Royal  Dreara-book,  we  find:  "To  dream  of  Flies  or  other 
vermin,  denotes  enemies  of  all  sorts. "^ 

"  When  we  see,"  says  Hollingshed,  "  a  great  number  of 
Flies  in  a  yeare,  we  naturallie  iudge  it  like  to  be  a  great 

Among  the  deep-sea  fishermen  of  Greenock  (Scotland), 
there  is  a  most  comical  idea  that  if  a  Fly  falls  into  a  glass 
from  which  any  one  has  been  drinking,  or  is  about  to  drink, 
it  is  considered  a  sure  omen  of  good  luck  to  the  drinker, 
and  is  always  noticed  as  such  by  the  company.'^     Has  this 

1  Owen's  Geopo)iika,  ii.  152, 

2  JVat.  Hist.,  X,  29.   Holland,  p.  285.  D, 

3  Holl.  Trans.,  p.  631. 

Vide  Pierius'  Hieroglyph.,  p.  268-9.    Iniportunitas  ac  impudentia 
Pertinacia  ;,  Res  gesta  cominus  ;   Indocilitas  ;   Cynici. 
*  The.atr.  Im.,  p.  70.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  945. 

5  Brand's  Pop.  Aniiq.,  iii.  184, 

6  Chron.  of  Eng.,  iii.  1002. 

7  N.  and  Q.,  xii.  488, 

290  MUSCID^ — FLIES. 

any  connection  with  our  saying  of  "taking  a  glass  with  a 
Jlij  in  it  ?" 

If  Flies  die  in  great  numbers  in  a  house,  it  is  believed  by 
the  common  people  to  be  a  sure  sign  of  death  to  some  one 
in  the  family  occupying  it ;  if  throughout  the  country,  an 
omen  of  general  pestilence.  It  is  positively  asserted  that 
Flies  always  die  before  the  breaking  out  of  the  cholera,  and 
believed  that  they  die  of  this  disease. 

Moufet,  in  his  Theater  of  Insects,  says  :  "  When  the  Flies 
bite  harder  than  ordinary,  making  at  the  face  and  eyes  of 
men,  they  foretell  rain  or  wet  weather,  from  whence  Politian 
hath  it : 

Thirsty  for  blood  tlie  Fly  returns, 
And  with  his  sLing  the  skin  he  burns. 

Perhaps  before  rain  they  are  most  hungry,  and  therefore, 
to  asswage  their  hunger,  do  more  diligently  seek  after  their 
food.  This  also  is  to  be  observed,  that  a  little  before  a 
showre  or  a  storme  comes,  the  Flies  descend  from  the  upper 
region  of  the  air  to  the  lowest,  and  do  fly,  as  it  were,  on  the 
very  surface  of  the  earth.  Moreover,  if  you  see  them  very 
busie  about  sweet-meats  or  unguents,  you  may  know  that  it 
will  presently  be  a  showre.  But  if  they  be  in  all  places 
many  and  numerous,  and  shall  so  continue  long  (if  Alex- 
ander Benedict  and  Johannes  Damascenus  say  true),  they 
foretell  a  plague  or  pestilence,  because  so  many  of  them 
could  not  be  bred  of  a  little  putrefaction  of  the  air."^  Else- 
where Moufet  states:  "Neither  are  Flies  begotten  of  dung 
only,  but  of  any  other  filthy  matter  putrefied  by  heat  in  the 
summer  time,  and  after  the  same  way  spoken  of  before,  as 
Grapaldus  and  Lonicerus  have  very  well  noted."  ^ 

Willsford,  in  his  Nature's  Secrets,  p.  135,  says:  "Flies  in 
the  spring  or  summer  season,  if  they  grow  busier  or  blinder 
than  at  other  times,  or  that  they  are  observed  to  shroud 
themselves  in  warm  places,  expect  then  quickly  to  follow 
either  hail,  cold  storms  of  rain,  or  very  much  wet  weather  ; 
and  if  these  little  creatures  are  noted  early  in  autumn  to 
repair  into  their  winter  quarters,  it  presages  frosty  morn- 
ings, cold  storms,  with  the  approach  of  hoary  winter. 
Atomes  of  Flies  swarming  together,  and  sporting  them- 
selves in  the  sunbeams,  is  a  good  omen  of  fair  weather."^ 

1  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  70.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  944. 

2  Ihid.,  p.  55.     Topsel,  p.  938. 

3  Brand's  Fop.  Antiq.,  ill.  191. 


In  Gayton's  Pleasant  Notes  upon  Don  Quixot,  1654,  p. 
99,  speaking  of  Sancho  Panza's  having  converted  a  cassock 
into  a  wallet,  onr  pleasant  annotator  observes  :  "  It  was  ser- 
viceable, after  this  greasie  nse,  for  nothing  but  to  preach  at 
a  carnivale  or  Shrove  Tuesday,  and  to  tosse  Pancakes  in 
after  the  exercise  ;  or  else,  if  it  could  have  been  conveighed 
thither,  nothing  more  proper  for  a  man  that  preaches  the 
Cook's  sermon  at  Oxford,  when  that  plump  society  rides 
upon  their  governour's  horses  to  fetch  in  the  Enemie,  the 
riie."  That  there  was  such  a  custom  at  Oxford,  let  Peshall, 
in  his  history  of  that  city,  be  a  voucher,  who,  speaking  of 
St.  Bartholomew's  Hospital,  p.  280,  says  :  "  To  this  Hos- 
pital cooks  from  Oxford  flocked,  bringing  in  on  Whitsun- 
week  the  Fly."  Aubrey  saw  this  ceremony  performed  in 
1642.  He  adds:  "On  Michaelmas-day,  they  rode  thither 
again  to  carry  the  Fly  away."^ 

Plutarch,  in  his  disquisition  on  the  Art  of  Discerning  a 
Flatterer  from  a  Friend,  makes  the  following  curious  com- 
parison:  "The  Gad-Flie  (as  they  say)  which  useth  to 
plague  bulles  and  oxen,  setteth  about  their  eares,  and 
so  doth  the  tick  deal  b}^  dogges :  after  the  same  manner, 
flatterers  take  hold  of  ambitious  mens  eares,  and  possesse 
them  with  praises;  and  being  once  set  fast  there,  hardly 
are  they  to  be  removed  and  chased  away."^ 

Plautus  twice  compares  envious  and  inquisitive  persons 
to  Flies.^ 

In  a  narrative  of  unheard-of  Popish   cruelties   toward 

1  Brand's  Pop.  Antiq.,  i.  84. 

2  Holl.  Trans.,  p.  76,  There  was  one  time  a  law  at  Athens,  which 
a  good  deal  nonplussed  these  sponging  gentlemen  so  appropriately 
called  Flies.  "  It  was  decreed  that  not  more  than  thirty  persons 
should  meet  at  a  marriage  feast;  and  a  wealthy  citizen,  desirous  of 
going  as  far  as  the  law  wovild  allow  him,  had  invited  the  full  com- 
plement. An  honest  Fly,  however,  who  respected  no  law  that  in- 
terfered with  his  stomach,  contrived  to  introduce  himself,  and  took 
his  station  at  the  lower  end  of  the  table.  Presently  the  magistrate 
appointed  for  the  purpose  entered,  and  espying  his  man  at  a  glance, 
began  counting  the  guests,  commencing  on  the  other  side  and  end- 
ing with  the  parasite.  'Friend,'  said  he,  'you  must  retire.  I  find 
there  is  one  more  than  the  hiw  allows.'  'It  is  quite  a  mistake,  sir,' 
replied  the  Fly,  '  as  you  will  find  if  you  will  have  the  goodness  to 
count  again,  beginning  on  this  side.'  " — St.  John's  3Ian.  and  Cust.  of 
And.  Grec,  ii.  172. 

3  Vide  Mercator,  A.  ii.  Sc.  4,  and  the  Young  Carthag.^  A.  iii.  Sc.  3. 

292  MUSCID^ — FLIES. 

Protestants  beyond  Seas,  printed  in  1680,  we  find  the  in- 
sinuating detectiv^es  of  the  Spanish  Inquisition  under  the 
name  of  Flies.^ 

Flies  are  mentioned  somewhere  in  Lyndwood  as  the  em- 
blem of  unclean  thoughts.^ 

Flies  were  driven  away  when  a  woman  was  in  labor,  for 
fear  she  should  bring  forth  a  daughter.^ 

Flies  are  found  represented  in  the  pottery  of  the  ancient 

Flies  ( Cuspi)  were  sacrificed  to  the  Sun  by  the  ancient 

"  To  let  a  Flee  (Fly)  stick  i'  the  wa'  "  is,  in  Scotland, 
not  to  speak  on  some  particular  topic,  to  pass  it  over  with- 
out remark.^ 

''Certes,  a  strange  thing  it  is  of  these  Flies,"  says  Pliny, 
''  which  are  taken  to  be  as  senselesse  and  witlesse  creatures, 
3^ea,  and  of  as  little  capacity  and  understanding  as  any  other 
whatsoever :  and  yet  at  the  solemne  games  and  plaies  holden 
every  fifth  yeare  at  Olympia,  no  sooner  is  the  bull  sacrificed 
there  to  the  Idoll  or  god  of  the  Flies  called  Myiodes,  but  a 
man  shall  see  (a  wonderful  thing  to  tell)  infinit  thousand 
of  flies  depart  out  of  that  territorie  by  flights,  as  it  were 
thick  clouds.'" 

This  Myiodes  or  Maagrus,  the  "Fly-catcher,"  was  the 
name  of  a  hero,  invoked  at  Aliphera,  at  the  festivals  of 
Athena,  as  the  protector  against  Flies.  It  was  also  a  sur- 
name of  Hercules. 

The  following  rendering  of  the  second  verse  of  the  first 
chapter  of  the  Second  Book  of  Kings,  by  Josephus,  contains 
an  allusion  to  the  worship  of  Baalzebub  under  the  form  of 
a  Fly  :  "Now  it  happened  that  Ahaziah,  as  he  was  coming 
down  from  the  top  of  his  house,  fell  down  from  it,  and  in  his 
sickness  sent  to  the  Fly  (Baalzebub),  which  was  the  god  of 
Ekron,  for  that  was  this  god's  name,  to  enquire  about  his 

With  reference  to  this  worship,  we  read  in  Purchas's 

1  Harleian  MisceL,  viii.  423. 

2  Fosbr.  Enrycl.  of  Antiq.,  ii.  738.  ^  Ibid. 
*  Wilkinson's  And.  Egypt.,  2d  S.  ii.  12G,  200. 

5  Hawk's  Peruvian  Antiq  ,  p.  197. 

6  Jamieson's  Scottish  Diet. 

T  Nat.  Hist.,  xxix.  6.     Holl.  Tram.,  p.  364.  K. 

8  Antiq.  of  the  Jews,  B.  ix.  c.  2.     Winston's  Trans.,  p.  274. 


Pilgrims :  "At  Accaron  was  worshipped  Baalzehuh,  that 
is,  the  Lord  of  the  Flies,  either  of  contempt  of  his  idolatrie, 
so  called;  or  rather  of  the  multitude  of  Flies,  which  at- 
tended the  multitude  of  his  sacrifices,  when  from  the  sacri- 
fices at  the  Temple  of  Jerusalem,  as  some  say,  they  were 
wholly  free  :  or  for  that  hee  was  their  Larder-god  (as  the 
Roman  Hercules)  to  drive  away  flies :  or  for  that  from  a 
forme  of  a  Flie,  in  which  he  was  worshipped.  .  .  .  But  for 
Beelzebub,  he  was  their  jEsculapius  or  Physicke  god,  as 
appeareth  by  Ahaziah  who  sent  to  consult  with  him  in  his 
sickness.  And  perhaps  from  this  cause  the  blaspheming 
Pharisies,  rather  applyed  the  name  of  this  then  any  other 
Idoll  to  our  blessed  Saviour  (Math.  x.  25)  whom  they  saw 
indeed  to  performe  miraculous  cures,  which  superstition 
had  conceived  of  Baalzehuh:  and  if  any  thing  were  done 
by  that  Idoll,  it  could  by  no  other  cause  bee  effected  but  by 
the  Devill,  as  tending  (like  the  popish  miracles)  to  the  con- 
firmation of  Idolatrie."^ 

This  god  of  the  Flies  was  so  called,  thinks  Whiston,  as 
was  Jove  among  the  Greeks,  from  his  supposed  power  over 
Flies,  in  driving  them  away  from  the  flesh  of  their  sacrifices, 
which  otherwise  would  have  been  very  troublesome  to 

It  has  been  conjectured  that  the  Fly,  under  which  Baal- 
zebub  was  represented,  was  the  Tumble-bug,  Scarahseus 
pilluarius ;  in  which  case,  says  Dr.  Smith,  Baalzebub  and 
Beelzebub  might  be  used  indifferently.^ 

''Urspergensis  saith  that  the  Devil  did  very  frequently 
appear  in  the  form  of  a  Fly ;  whence  it  was  that  some  of 
the  heathens  called  their  familiar  spirit  Musca  or  Fly :  per- 
chance alluding  to  that  of  Plautus  : 

Hie  pol  musca  est,  mi  pater, 

Sive  profanum,  sive  publicum,  nil  clam 

ilium  haberi  potest : 
Quin  adsit  ibi  illico,  et  rem  omnem  tenet. — 

This  man,  O  my  father,  is  a  Fly,  nothing  can  be  concealed 
from  him,  be  it  secret  or  publick,  he  is  presently  there,  and 
knowes  all  the  matter."* 

1  Pilg.,  V.  81.   Fol.  1626. 

2  Whiston's  Trans.  ofJosephus,  p.  274,  note. 

3  Diet,  of  Bible. 

*  Moufet,  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  79.     Topsel's  TransL,  p.  951. 

294  MUSCID.^ — FLIES. 

Lokc,  the  deceiver  of  tlie  gods,  is  faljled  in  the  Xorthern 
Mythology,  to  have  metamorphosed  himself  into  a  Fly: 
and  demons,  in  the  shape  of  Fhes,  were  kept  imprisoned 
by  the  Finlanders,  to  be  let  loose  on  men  and  beasts.^ 

In  Scotland,  a  tutelary  Fly,  believed  immortal,  presided 
over  a  fountain  in  the  county  of  Banff:  and  here  also  a 
large  blue  Fly,  resting  on  the  bark  of  trees,  was  distin- 
guished as  a  witch.2 

Among  the  games  and  plays  of  the  ancient  Greeks  was 
the  XaA/.r^  Mola,  or  Brazen  Fly : — a  variety  of  blind-man's- 
buff,  in  which  a  boy  having  his  eyes  bound  with  a  fillet, 
went  groping  round,  calling  out,  "I  am  seeking  the  Brazen 
Fly."  His  companions  replied,  "  You  may  seek,  but  you 
will  not  find  it" — at  the  same  time  striking  him  with  cords 
made  of  the  inner  bark  of  the  papyros  ;  and  thus  they  pro- 
ceeded till  one  of  them  was  taken.^ 

This  is  most  probably  an  allusion  to  some  species  of  Fly 
of  a  bronze  color  which  is  most  difficult  to  catch,  as,  for 
instance,  the  little  fly  found  in  summer  beneath  arbors,  ap- 
parently standing  motionless  in  the  air. 

Petrus  Ramus  tells  us  of  an  iron  Fly,  made  by  Regio- 
montanus,  a  famous  mathematician  of  Nuremberg,  which, 
at  a  feast,  to  which  he  had  invited  his  familiar  friends,  flew 
forth  from  his  hand,  and  taking  a  round,  returned  to  his 
hand  again,  to  the  great  astonishment  of  the  beholders. 
Du  Bartas  thus  expresses  this : 

Once  as  this  artist,  more  with  mirth  than  meat, 

Feasted  some  friends  whom  he  esteemed  great, 

Forth  from  his  hand  an  iron  Fly  flew  out; 

Which  having  flown  a  perfect  round-about, 

With  weary  wings  return'd  unto  her  master: 

And  as  judicious  on  his  arm  he  plac'd  her. 

0!   wit  divine,  that  in  the  narrow  womb 

Of  a  small  fly,  could  find  sufficient  room 

For  all  those  springs,  wheels,  counterpoise  and  chains, 

Which  stood  instead  of  life,  and  blood,  and  veins  !* 

We  find  also  in  a  work  bearing  the  title  "  Apologie  pour 
les  Grands  Homines  Accuses  de  Magie,"  that  "Jean  de 
Montro3^al  presented  to  the  Emperor  Charles  Y.  an  iron 

1  Dalyell's  Darker  Superst.  of  Scotland,  p  562.     Edinbgh.  1834. 

2  I  hid. 

3  St.  Johri's  Man.  and  Cust.  of  Anct.  Grec,  i.  150. 
*  Wanley's  Wonders,  i.  377. 

MUSCID^ — FLIES.  295 

riy,  which  made  a  solemn  circuit  round  its  inventor's  head, 
and  then  reposed  from  its  fatigue  on  his  arm." — Probably 
the  same  automaton,  since  Regiomontanus  and  Montroyal 
are  the  same. 

Such  a  Fly  as  the  above  is  rather  extraordinary,  yet  I 
have  something  better  to  tell — still  about  a  Fly. 

Gervais,  Chancellor  to  the  Emperor  Otho  III.,  in  his 
book  entitled  "  Otia  Imperatoris,"  informs  us  that  "the  sage 
Yirgilius,  Bishop  of  Naples,  made  a  brass  Fly,  which  he 
placed  on  one  of  the  city  gates,  and  that  this  mechanical 
Fly,  trained  like  a  shepherd's  dog,  prevented  any  other  fly 
entering  Naples;  so  much  so,  that  during  eight  years  the 
meat  exposed  for  sale  in  the  market  was  never  once 
tainted  !"^ 

"Yarro  affirmeth,"  says  Pliny,  "that  the  heads  of  Flies 
applied  fresh  to  the  bald  place,  is  a  convenient  medicine  for 
the  said  infirmity  and  defect.  Some  use  in  this  case  the 
bloud  of  flies :  others  mingle  their  ashes  with  the  ashes  of 
paper  used  in  old  time,  or  els  of  nuts;  with  this  proportion, 
that  there  be  a  third  part  only  of  the  ashes  of  flies  to  the 
rest,  and  herewith  for  ten  days  together  rubb  the  bare 
places  where  the  hair  is  gone.  Some  there  be  againe,  who 
temper  and  incorporat  togither  the  said  ashes  of  Flies  with 
the  juice  of  colewort  and  brest-milke  :  others  take  nothing 
thereto  but  honey.  "^ 

Mucianus,  who  was  thrice  consul,  carried  about  him  a 
living  Fly,  says  Pliny,  wrapped  in  a  piece  of  white  linen, 
and  strongly  asserted  that  to  the  use  of  this  expedient  he 
owed  his  preservation  from  ophthalmia.^ 

Ferdinand  Mendez  Pinto  says:  "In  our  travels  with  the 
ambassador  of  the  King  of  Bramaa  to  the  Calarainham,  we 
saw  in  a  grot  men  of  a  sect  of  one  of  their  Saints,  named 
Angemacur:  these  lived  in  deep  holes,  made  in  the  mider 
of  the  rock,  according  to  the  rule  of  their  wretched  order, 
eating  nothing  but  Flies,  Ants,  Scorpions,  and  Spiders, 
with  the  juice  of  a  certain  herb,  much  like  to  sorrel."* 

Says  Moufet,  in  his  Theater  of  Insects:  "Plutarch,  in 
his  Artaxerxes,  relates  that  it  was  a  law  amongst  a  certain 

1  Mem.  ofRobt.  Iloudin,  p.  150.     Philad.  1859. 
"^  Nat.  Hist.,  xxix.  6.     Holland's  Trans.,  p.  364.  I. 
^Ibid.,  xxviii.  2  (5). 
*  Voy.,  C.  56,  p.  222.     Wanley's  }Vonders,  ii.  3V3. 


people,  that  whosoever  should  be  so  bold  as  to  laugh  at  and 
deride  their  lawes  and  constitutions  of  state,  was  bound  for 
twenty  daies  together  in  an  open  chest  naked,  all  besmeared 
with  honey  and  milk,  and  so  became  a  prey  to  the  Flies  and 
Bees,  afterward  when  the  days  were  expired  he  was  put  into 
a  woman's  habit  and  thrown  headlong  down  a  mountain.  .  . 
Of  which  kinde  of  punishment  also  Suidas  makes  mention 
in  his  Epicurus.  There  was  likewise  for  greater  offenders, 
a  punishment  of  Boats,  so  called.  For  that  he  that  was 
convict  of  high  treason,  was  clapt  between  two  boats, 
with  his  head,  hands,  and  feet  hanging  out :  for  his  drink  he 
had  milk  and  honey  powred  down  his  throat,  with  which  also 
his  head  and  hands  were  sprinkled,  then  being  set  against 
the  sun,  he  drew  to  him  abundance  of  stinging  Flies,  and 
within  being  full  of  their  worms,  he  putrefied  by  little  and 
little,  and  so  died.  Which  kinde  of  examples  of  severity  as 
the  ancients  shewed  to  the  guilty  and  criminous  offenders; 
so  on  the  other  side  the  Spaniards  in  the  Indies,  used  to 
drive  numbers  of  the  innocents  out  of  their  houses,  as  the 
custome  is  among  them,  naked,  all  bedawbed  with  honey, 
and  expose  them  in  open  air  to  the  biting  of  most  cruel 

Mr.  Henry  Mayhew,  in  that  part  of  his  interesting  work 
on  London  Labor  and  London  Poor  devoted  to  the  London 
Street-folk,  has  given  us  the  narratives  of  several  "  Catch- 
'em- Alive"  sellers — a  set  of  poor  boys  who  sell  prepared 
papers  for  the  purpose  of  catching  Flies.  Rediscovered,  as 
he  relates,  a  colony  of  these  "  Catch-'em-alive"  boys  residing 
in  Pheasant-court,  Gray's-inn-lane.  They  were  playing  at 
"pitch-and-toss"  in  the  middle  of  the  paved  yard,  and  all 
were  very  willing  to  give  him  their  statements ;  indeed,  the 
only  difficulty  he  had  was  in  making  his  choice  among  the 

"  Please,  sir,"  said  one  with  teeth  ribbed  like  celery,  to  him, 
"  I've  been  at  it  longer  than  him." 

"Please,  sir,  he  ain't  been  out  this  year  with  the  papers," 
said  another,  who  was  hiding  a  handful  of  buttons  behind 
his  back. 

"He's  been  at  shoe-blacking,  sir;  I'm  the  only  reg'lar 
fly-^oy»"  shouted  a  third,  eating  a  piece  of  bread  as  dirty  as 
London  snow. 

1  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  79.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  951. 

MUSCID^ — FLIES.  29t 

A  bio;  lad' with  a  dirty  face,  and  hair  like  hemp,  was  the 
first  of  the  "catch-'era-alive"  boys  who  gave  him  his  account 
of  his  trade.  He  was  a  swarthy  featured  boy,  with  a  broad 
nose  like  a  negro's,  and  on  his  temple  was  a  big  half- healed 
scar,  which  he  accounted  for  by  saying  that  "  he  had  been 
runned  over"  by  a  cab,  though,  judging  from  the  blackness 
of  one  eye,  it  seemed  to  Mr.  Mayhew  to  have  been  the  re- 
sult of  some  street  fight.     He  said : 

"  I'm  an  Irish  boy,  and  nearly  turned  sixteen,  and  I've 
been  silling  fly-papers  for  between  eight  and  nine  year.  I 
must  have  begun  to  sill  them  when  they  first  come  out. 
Another  boy  first  tould  me  of  them,  and  he'd  been  silling 
them  about  three  weeks  before  me.  He  used  to  buy  them 
of  a  party  as  lives  in  a  back-room  near  Drury-lane,  what 
buys  paper  and  makes  the  catch  'em  alive  for  himself. 
Wlien  they  first  come  out  they  used  to  charge  sixpence  a 
dozen  for  'em,  but  now  they've  got  'em  to  twopence  ha'penny. 
When  I  first  took  to  silling  'em,  there  was  a  tidy  lot  of  boys 
at  the  business,  but  not  so  many  as  now,  for  all  the  boys 
seem  at  it.  In  our  court  alone  I  should  think  there  was 
about  twenty  boys  silling  the  things. 

"At  first,  when  there  was  a  good  time,  we  used  to  buy 
three  or  four  gross  together,  but  now  we  don't  no  more  than 
half  a  gross.  As  we  go  along  the  streets  we  call  out  dif- 
ferent cries.  Some  of  us  says,  'Fly-papers,  fly-papers, 
ketch  'em  all  alive.'  Others  make  a  kind  of  song  of  it, 
singing  out,  'Fly-paper,  ketch  'em  all  alive,  the  nasty  flies, 
tormenting  the  baby's  eyes.  Who'd  be  fly-blow'd,  by  all  the 
nasty  blue-bottles,  beetles,  and  flies?'  People  likes  to  buy 
of  a  boy  as  sings  out  well,  'cos  it  makes  'em  laugh. 

"I  don't  think  I  sell  so  many  in  town  as  I  do  in  the  bor- 
ders of  the  country,  about  Highbury,  Croydon,  and  Brent- 
ford. I've  got  some  regular  customers  in  town  about  the 
City-prison  and  the  Caledonian-road;  and  after  I've  served 
them  and  the  town  custom  begins  to  fall  otf,  then  I  goes  to 
the  country.  We  goes  two  of  us  together,  and  we  takes 
about  three  gross.  We  keep  on  silling  before  us  all  the 
way,  and  we  comes  back  the  same  road.  Last  year  we 
sould  very  well  in  Croydon,  and  it  was  the  best  place  for 
gitting  the  best  price  for  them;  they'd  give  a  penny  a  piece 
for  'em  there,  for  they  didn't  know  nothing  about  them.  I 
went  off  one  day  at  ten  o'clock  and  didn't  come  home  till 



two  in  the  morning,  I  sould  eighteen  dozen' out  in  that 
d'rection  the  other  day,  and  got  rid  of  them  before  I  had 
got  half-way.  But  flies  are  very  scarce  at  Croydon  this  year, 
and  we  haven't  done  so  well.  There  ain't  half  as  many  flies 
this  summer  as  last. 

"  Some  people  says  the  papers  draws  more  flies  than  they 
ketches,  and  that  when  one  gets  in,  there's  twenty  others  will 
come  to  see  him.  It's  according  to  the  weather  as  the  flies 
is  about.  If  we  have  a  fine  day  it  fetches  them  out,  but  a 
cold  day  kills  more  than  our  papers. 

"  We  sills  the  most  papers  to  little  cook-shops  and  sweet- 
meat shops.  We  don't  sill  so  many  at  private  houses.  The 
public-houses  is  pretty  good  customers,  'cos  the  beer  draws 
the  flies.  I  sould  nine  dozen  at  one  house — a  school — at 
Highgate,  the  other  day.  I  sould  'em  two  for  three-ha' 
pence.  That  was  a  good  hit,  but  then  t'other  days  we  loses. 
If  we  can  make  a  ha'penny  each  we  thinks  we  does  well. 

"  Those  that  sills  their  papers  at  three  a-penny  buys  them 
at  St.  Giles's,  and  pays  only  three  ha'pence  a  dozen  for  them, 
but  they  ain't  half  as  big  and  good  as  those  we  pays  tup- 
pence-ha'penny a  dozen  for. 

"  Barnet  is  a  good  place  for  fly-papers;  there's  a  good  lot 
of  flies  down  there.  There  used  to  be  a  man  at  Barnet  as 
made  'era,  but  I  can't  say  if  he  do  now.  There's  another 
at  Brentford,  so  it  ain't  much  good  going  that  way. 

"In  cold  weather  the  papers  keep  pretty  well,  and  will 
last  for  months  with  just  a  little  warming  at  the  fire ;  for 
they  tears  on  opening  when  they  are  dry.  You  see  we 
always  carry  them  with  the  stickey  sides  doubled  up  together 
like  a  sheet  of  writing-paper.  In  hot  weather,  if  you  keep 
them  folded  up,  they  lasts  very  well ;  but  if  you  opens  them, 
they  dry  up.  It's  easy  opening  them  in  hot  weather,  for 
they  comes  apart  as  easy  as  peeling  a  horrange.  We  gener- 
ally carries  the  papers  in  a  bundle  on  our  arm,  and  we  ties 
a  paper  as  is  loaded  with  flies  round  our  cap,  just  to  show 
the  people  the  way  to  ketch  'em.  We  get  a  loaded  paper 
given  to  us  at  a  shop. 

"  When  the  papers  come  out  first,  we  use  to  do  very  well 
with  fly-papers  ;  but  now  it's  hard  work  to  make  our  own 
money  for  'em.  Some  days  we  used  to  make  six  shillings  a 
day  regular.  But  then  we  usen't  to  go  out  every  day,  but 
take  a  rest  at  home.  If  we  do  well  one  day,  then  we  might 
stop  idle  another  day,  resting.     You  see,  we  had  to  do  our 

MUSCID^ — FLIES.  299 

twenty  or  thirty  miles  silling  them  to  get  that  money,  and 
then  the  next  day  we  was  tired. 

"The  silling  of  papers  is  gradual  falling  off.  I  could  go 
out  and  sill  twenty  dozen  wonst  where  I  couldn't  sill  one 
now.  I  think  I  does  a  very  grand  day's  work  if  I  yearns 
a  shilling.  Perhaps  some  days  I  may  lose  by  them.  You 
see,  if  it's  a  very  hot  day,  the  papers  gets  dusty ;  and  be- 
sides, the  stuff  gets  melted  and  oozes  out ;  though  that 
don't  do  much  harm,  'cos  we  gets  a  bit  of  whitening  and 
rubs  'em  over.  Four  years  ago  we  might  make  ten  shillings 
a  day  at  the  papers,  but  now,  taking  from  one  end  of  the 
fly-season  to  the  other,  which  is  about  three  months,  I  think 
we  makes  about  one  shilling  a  day  out  of  papers,  though 
even  that  ain't  quite  certain.  I  never  goes  out  without 
getting  rid  of  mine,  somehow  or  another,  but  then  I  am 
obleeged  to  walk  quick  and  look  about  me. 

"  When  it's  a  bad  time  for  silling  the  papers,  such  as  a 
wet,  could  day,  then  most  of  the  fly-paper  boys  goes  out  with 
brushes,  cleaning  boots.  Most  of  the  boys  is  now  out  hop- 
ping. They  goes  reg'lar  every  year  after  the  season  is  give 
over  for  flies. 

"  The  stuff  as  they  puts  on  the  paper  is  made  out  of  boiled 
oil  and  turpentine  and  resin.  It's  seldom  as  a  fly  lives  more 
than  five  minutes  after  it  gets  on  the  paper,  and  then  it's  as 
dead  as  a  house.  The  blue-bottles  is  tougher,  but  they  don't 
last  long,  though  they  keeps  on  fizzing  as  if  they  was  trying 
to  make  a  hole  in  the  paper.  The  stuff  is  only  p'isonous  for 
flies,  though  I  never  heard  of  anybody  as  ever  eat  a  fly- 

A  second  lad,  in  conclusion,  said:  "There's  lots  of  boys 
going  selling 'ketch-'em-alive  oh's'from  Golden-lane,  and 
White-chapel  and  the  Borough.  There's  lots,  too,  comes 
out  of  Gray's-inn-lane  and  St.  Giles's.  Near  every  boy  who 
has  nothing  to  do  goes  out  with  fly-papers.  Perhaps  it  ain't 
that  the  flies  is  failed  off  that  we  don't  sill  so  many  papers 
now,  but  because  there's  so  many  boys  at  it." 

A  third,  of  the  lot  the  most  intelligent  and  gentle  in  his 
demeanor,  though  the  smallest  in  stature,  said : 

"Pve  been  longer  at  it  than  the  last  boy,  though  I'm  only 
getting  on  for  thirteen,  and  he's  older  than  I'm  ;  'cos  I'm 
little  and  he's  big,  getting  a  man.  But  I  can  sell  them 
quite  as  well  as  he  can,  and  sometimes  better,  for  I  can 
holler  out  just  as  loud,  and  I've  got  reg'lar  places  to  go  to.  I 

300  MUSCTD^ — FLIES. 

was  a  very  little  fellow  when  I  first  went  out  with  them,  but 
I  could  sell  them  pretty  well  then,  sometimes  three  or  four 
dozen  a  day.  I've  got  one  place,  in  a  stable,  where  I  can 
sell  a  dozen  at  a  time  to  country  people. 

"  I  calls  out  in  the  streets,  and  I  goes  into  the  shops,  too, 
and  calls  out,  *  Ketch  'em  alive,  ketch  'em  alive ;  ketch  all 
the  nasty  black-beetles,  blue-bottles,  and  flies ;  ketch  'em 
from  teasing  the  baby's  eyes.'  That's  what  most  of  us  boys 
cries  out.  Some  boys  who  is  stupid  only  says,  'Ketch  'em 
alive,'  but  people  don't  buy  so  well  from  them. 

"Up  in  St.  Giles's  there  is  a  lot  of  fly-boys,  but  they're  a 
bad  set,  and  will  fling  mnd  at  gentlemen,  and  some  prigs  the 
gentlemen's  pockets.  Sometimes,  if  I  sell  more  than  a  big 
boy,  he'll  get  mad  and  hit  me.  He'll  tell  me  to  give  him  a 
halfpenny  and  he  won't  touch  me,  and  that  if  I  don't  he'll 
kill  me.  Some  of  the  boys  takes  an  open  fly-paper,  and 
makes  me  look  another  way,  and  then  they  sticks  the  ketch- 
'era-alive  on  my  face.  The  stufi"  won't  come  otf  without  soap 
and  hot  water,  and  it  goes  black,  and  looks  like  mud.  One 
day  a  boy  had  a  broken  fly-paper,  and  I  was  taking  a  drink 
of  water,  and  he  come  behind  me  and  slapped  it  up  in  my  face. 
A  gentleman  as  saw  him  give  him  a  crack  with  a  stick  and 
me  twopence.  It  takes  your  breath  away,  until  a  man  comes 
and  takes  it  ofi".  It  all  sticked  to  my  hair,  and  I  couldn't 
rack  (comb)  right  for  some  time  .... 

"I  don't  like  going  along  with  other  boys,  they  take  your 
customers  away ;  for  perhaps  they'll  sell  'em  at  three  a  penny 
to  'em,  and  spoil  the  customers  for  you.  I  won't  go  with 
the  big  boy  you  saw,  'cos  he's  such  a  blackgeyard ;  when 
he's  in  the  country  he'll  go  up  to  a  lady  and  say,  '  Want  a 
fly-paper,  marra?'  and  if  she  says  'No,'  he'll  perhaps  job 
his  head  in  her  face — butt  at  her  like. 

"  When  there's  no  flies,  and  the  ketch-'em-alive  is  out, 
then  I  goes  tumbling.  I  can  turn  a  cat'enwheel  over  on 
one  hand.  I'm  going  to-morrow  to  the  country,  harvesting 
and  hopping — for,  as  we  says, '  Go  out  hopping,  come  in  jump- 
ing.' We  start  at  three  o'clock  to-morrow,  and  we  shall 
get  about  twelve  o'clock  at  night  at  Dead  Man's  Barn.  It 
was  left  for  poor  people  to  sleep  in,  and  a  man  was  buried 
there  in  a  corner.  The  man  had  got  six  farms  of  hops ;  and 
if  his  son  hadn't  buried  him  there,  he  wouldn't  have  had 
none  of  the  riches. 

"The  greatest  number  of  fly-papers  I've  sold  in  a  day  is 

MUSCID^ — FLIES.  301 

about  eight  dozen.  I  never  sells  no  more  than  that ;  I  wish 
I  could.  People  won't  buy  'em  now.  When  I'm  at  it  I 
makes,  taking  one  day  with  another,  about  ten  shillings  a 
week.  You  see,  if  I  sold  eight  dozen,  I'd  make  four  shillings. 
I  sell  'em  at  a  penny  each,  at  two  for  three-ha'pence,  and 
three  for  twopence.  When  they  gets  stale  I  sells  'em  for 
three  a  penny.  I  always  begin  by  asking  a  penny  each,  and 
perhaps  they'll  say,  '  Give  me  two  for  three  ha'pence  V  I'll 
say,  *  Can't,  ma'am,'  and  then  they  pulls  out  a  purse  full  of 
money  and  gives  a  penny. 

"  The  police  is  very  kind  to  us,  and  don't  interfere  with 
us.  If  they  see  another  boy  hitting  us  they'll  take  off  their 
belts  and  hit  'em.  Sometimes  I've  sold  a  ketch-'em-alive  to 
a  policeman;  he'll  fold  it  up  and  put  it  into  his  pocket  to 
take  home  with  him.  Perhaps  he's  got  a  kid,  and  the  flies 
teazes  its  eyes. 

"  Some  ladies  like  to  buy  fly-cages  better  than  ketch-'em- 
alive's,  because  sometimes  when  they're  putting  'em  up  they 
falls  in  their  faces,  and  then  they  screams." 

The  history  of  the  manufacture  of  Fly-papers  was  thus 
given  to  Mr.  Mayhew  by  a  manufacturer,  whom  he  found  in 
a  small  attic-room  near  Drury-lane :  "The  first  man  as  was 
the  inventor  of  these  fly-papers  kept  a  barber's  shop  in  St. 
Andrew-street,  Seven  Dials,  of  the  name  of  Greenwood  or 
Greenfinch,  I  forget  which.  I  expect  he  diskivered  it  by  ac- 
cident, using  varnish  and  stuff,  for  stale  varnish  has  nearly 
the  same  effect  as  our  composition.  He  made  'em  and  sold 
'em  at  first  at  threepence  and  fourpence  a  piece.  Then  it 
got  down  to  a  penny.  He  sold  the  receipt  to  some  other 
parties,  and  then  it  got  out  through  their  having  to  employ 
men  to  help  'em.  I  worked  for  a  party  as  made  'em,  and 
then  I  set  to  work  making  'em  for  myself,  and  afterwards 
hawking  them.  They  was  a  greater  novelty  then  than  they 
are  now,  and  sold  pretty  well.  Then  men  in  the  streets, 
who  had  nothing  to  do,  used  to  ask  me  where  I  bought  'em, 
and  then  I  used  to  give  'em  my  own  address,  and  they'd 
come  and  find  me."^ 

1  London  Lab.  and  London  Poor,  iii.  28-33. 

102  (ESTRID.^ — BOT-FLTES. 

Oestridse — Bot-flies. 

The  larvos  of  Bots,  Q^stris  oin's,  found  in  the  heads  of 
sheep  and  ^oats,  have  been  prescribed,  and  that,  from  the  tri- 
pod of  Delphos,  as  a  remedy  for  the  epilepsy.  We  are  told 
so  on  the  authority  of  Alexander  Trallien  ;  but  whether 
Deraocritus,  who  consulted  the  oracle,  was  cured  by  this 
remedy,  does  not  appear;  the  story  shows,  however,  that 
the  ancients  were  aware  that  these  magp^ots  made  their  way 
even  into  the  brain  of  living  animals.^  The  oracle  answered 
Democritus  as  follows : 

Take  a  tame  goat  that  Lath  the  greatest  head, 
Or  else  a  wilde  goat  in  the  field  that's  bred, 
And  in  his  foi^ehead  a  great  worm  you'l  finde, 
This  cures  all  diseases  of  that  kinde.  ^ 

The  common  saying  that  a  whimsical  person  is  maggoty, 
or  has  got  maggots  in  his  head,  perhaps  arose  from  the 
freaks  the  sheep  have  been  observed  to  exhibit  when  in- 
fested by  their  Bots.^ 

The  following  "charme  for  the  Bots*  in  a  horse"  is 
found  in  Scots' Discovery  of  Witchcraft,  printed  in  1G51  : 
"You  must  both  say  and  do  thus  upon  the  diseased  horse 
three  days  together,  before  the  sun  rising :  la  nomine  pa'f- 
tris  &  fi-\lii  &  Spiritusfsancti,  Exorcize  te  vermen  per 
Deum  pa\trem  &  fi^lium  S  Spirituni'f sanctum  :  that  is,  In 
the  name  of  God  the  father,  the  sonne,  and  the  Holy  Ghost, 
I  conjure  thee  0  worm  bv  God,  the  Father,  the  sonne,  and 
the  Holy  Ghost;  that  thou  neither  eate  nor  drink  the  flesh, 
blood,  or  bones  of  this  horse;  and  that  thou  hereby  maiest 
be  made  as  patient  as  Job,  and  as  good  as  S.  John  Baptist, 
when  he  baptized  Christ  in  Jordan,  In  nomine  pa-\tris  & 
Ji'flii  et  spnritus^^sancti.  And  then  say  three  Pater  nosters, 
and  three  Aves,  in  the  right  eare  of  the  horse,  to  the  glory 
of  the  holy  trinity.     Dof minus  filifus  spiritfus  Marifa."^ 

There  is  a  popular  error  in  England  respecting  the  (Edrus 
(Gasterophilus)  equi  (Jiaemori-hoidalis),  which  Shakspeare 

1  Kirb.  and  Sp.  Introd.,  i,  158. 

3  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  284.    Topsel's  Ilist.  of  Beasts,  p    1107,  1122. 

'  Kirby  and  Spence,  Introd.,  i.  158. 

*  Gasterophilus  equi. 

5  Reg.  Scot's  Disc,  of  Witchcraft,  p.  179. 


has  followed,  and  which  has  been  judiciously  explained  by 
Mr.  Clark.  Shakspeare  makes  the  carrier  at  Rochester 
observe:  "Peas  and  oats  are  as  dank  here  as  a  dog,  and 
that's  the  next  way  to  give  poor  jades  the  6ote."^ 

The  larvae  of  this  insect,  says  Mr.  Clark,  are  mostly 
known  among  the  country  people  by  the  name  of  wormals, 
ivorniuls,  warbles,  or,  more  properly,  Bots.  And  om'  an- 
cestors erroneously  imagined  that  poverty  or  improper  food 
engendered  them  in  horses.  The  truth,  however,  seems 
to  be,  that  when  the  animal  is  kept  without  food  the  Bots 
are  also,  and  are  then,  without  doubt,  most  troublesome; 
whence  it  was  very  naturally  supposed  that  poverty  or  bad 
food  was  the  parent  of  them.^ 

A  cow  with  its  hide  perforated  by  Warbles,  in  England, 
was  said  to  be  elf-shot :  the  holes  being  made  by  the  arrows 
of  the  little  malignant  fairies.  In  the  Northern  Antiqui- 
ties, p.  404,  we  find  the  following: 

"If  at  such  a  time  you  were  to  look  through  an  elf-bore 
in  wood,  where  a  thorter  knot  has  been  taken  out,  or 
through  the  hole  made  by  an  elf-arrow  (which  has  probably 
been  made  by  a  Warble)  in  the  skin  of  a  beast  that  has 
been  elf-shot,  you  may  see  the  elf-bull  naiging  (butting) 
with  the  strongest  bull  or  ox  in  the  herd;  but  you  will 
never  see  with  that  eye  again." 

In  the  Scottish  history  of  the  trials  of  witches,  we  find 
the  following:  Alexander  Smaill  offended  Jonet  Cock,  who 
threatened  him,  "  deare  sail  yow"  rewe  it !  and  within  half 
ane  howre  therafter,  going  to  the  plough, — befoir  he  had 
gone  one  about,  their  came  ane  great  Wasp  or  Bee,  so  that 
the  foir  horses  did  runne  aw^ay  with  the  plough,  and  wer 
liklie  to  have  killed  themselves,  and  the  said  Alexander 
and  the  boy  that  was  with  him,  narrowlie  escaped  with 
their  lyves."^  Possibly  the  incident  is  not  exaggerated,  as 
a  single  (Estrus  will  turn  the  oxen  of  a  whole  herd,  and 
render  them  furious. 

Spencer,  in  his  Travels  in  Circassia,  speaks  of  a  poison- 
ous Fly,  known  in  Hungary  under  the  name  of  the  Golu- 
baeser-fly,  which  is  singularly  destructive  to  cattle.  The 
Hungarian  peasants,  to  account  for  the  severity  of  the  bite 

1  Henry  IV.,  Pt.  I.  Act  ii.  Sc.  1. 

2  Neweirs  Zool.  of  the  Poets,  p.  29. 

3  Dalyell's  Superstitions  of  Scotland,  p.  564. 


of  this  insect,  tell  us  that  in  the  caverns,  near  the  Castle 
of  Golubaes,  the  renowned  champion,  St.  George,  killed 
the  dragon,  and  that  its  decomposed  remains  have  con- 
tinued to  generate  these  insects  down  to  the  present  day. 
So  firmly  did  they  believe  this,  that  they  closed  up  the 
mouths  of  the  caverns  with  stone  walls.^ 

1  Saturday  Mag.,  xviii.  153. 



Pulicidss — Fleas. 

The  name  Pulea;,  given  to  the  Flea  by  the  Romans,  is 
stated  by  Isodorus  to  have  been  derived  from  pulvis,  dust, 
quaai  pulveris  filius.  Our  English  name  Flea,  and  the 
German  Flock,  are  evidently  deduced  from  the  quick  mo- 
tions of  this  insect. 

As  to  the  origin  of  Fleas,  Moufet  had  a  similar  notion  to 
that  contained  in  the  word  Pulex,  if  we  adopt  the  etymol- 
ogy of  Isodorus,  for  he  says  they  are  produced  from  the 
dust,  especially  when  moistened  with  urine,  the  smallest 
ones  springing  from  putrid  matter.  Scaliger  relates  that 
they  are  produced  from  the  moistened  humors  among  the 
hairs  of  dogs.^  Conformable  to  the  curious  notion  of  Mou- 
fet, Shakspeare  says : 

2  Car.  I  think  this  be  the  most  villainous  house  in  all  London 
road  for  fleas:   I  am  stung  like  a  tench. 

1  Car.  Like  a  tench  ?  by  the  mass,  there  is  ne'er  a  king  in  Chris- 
tendom could  be  better  bit  than  I  have  been  since  the  first  cock. 

2  Car.  Why,  they  will  allow  us  ne'er  a  jorden,  and  then  we  leak 
in  your  chimney;  and  your  chamber-ley  breeds  fleas  like  a  loach. ^ 

"  Martyr,  the  author  of  the  Decads  of  Navigation,  writes, 
that  in  Perienna,  a  countrey  of  the  Indies,  the  drops  of 
sweat  that  fall  from  their  slaves'  bodies  will  presently  turn 
to  Fleas.  "^ 

Ewlin,  in  his  book  of  Travels  in  Turkey,  has  recorded  a 
singular  tradition  of  the  history  of  the  Flea  and  its  confra- 
ternity, as  preserved  among  a  sect  of  Kurds,  who  dwelt  in 
his  time   at  the  foot  of  Mount  Sindshar.     "  When  Noah's 

1  Hist,  of  Ins.  (Murray,  1838),  ii.  313. 

2  Henry  IV.  Pt.  I.,  Act  ii.  Sc.  1. 

3  Moufet,  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  276.     Topsel's  ZTjs^  of  Beasts,  p.  1102. 

21  (305) 


Ark,"  says  the  legend,  ''sprung  a  leak  by  striking  against 
a  rock  in  the  vicinity  of  Mount  Sindshar,  and  Noah  de- 
spaired altogether  of  safety,  the  serpent  promised  to  help 
him  out  of  his  mishap  if  he  would  engage  to  feed  him  upon 
human  flesh  after  the  deluge  had  subsided.  Noah  pledged 
himself  to  do  so  ;  and  the  serpent  coiling  himself  up,  drove 
his  body  into  the  fracture  and  stopped  the  leak.  When  the 
pluvious  element  was  appeased,  and  all  were  making  their 
way  out  of  the  ark,  the  serpent  insisted  upon  the  fulfillment 
of  the  pledge  he  had  received;  but  Noah,  by  Gabriel's-  ad- 
vice, committed  the  pledge  to  the  flames,  and  scattering  its 
ashes  in  the  air,  there  arose  out  of  them  Fleas,  Flies,  Lice, 
Bugs,  and  all  such  sort  of  vermin  as  prey  upon  human 
blood,  and  after  this  fashion  was  Noah's  pledge  redeemed."^ 

The  Sandwich  Islanders  have  the  following  tradition  in 
regard  to  the  introduction  of  Fleas  into  their  country  :  Many 
years  ago  a  woman  from  Waimea  went  out  to  a  ship  to  see  her 
lover,  and  as  she  was  about  to  return,  he  gave  her  a  bottle, 
saying  that  there  was  very  little  valuable  property  (icaiwai) 
contained  in  it,  but  that  she  must  not  open  it,  on  any  ac- 
count, until  she  reached  the  shore.  As  soon  as  she  gained 
the  beach,  she  eagerly  uncorked  the  bottle  to  examine  her 
treasure,  but  nothing  was  to  be  discovered, —  the  Fleas 
hopped  out,  and  "  they  have  gone  on  hopping  and  biting 
ever  since.  "'^ 

Our  pigmy  tormentor,  Pulex  irritans,  in  the  opinion  of 
some,  seems  to  have  been  regarded  as  an  agreeable  rather 
than  a  repulsive  object.  "Dear  Miss,"  said  a  lively  old 
lady  to  a  friend  of  Kirby  and  Spence  (who  had  the  mis- 
fortune to  be  confined  to  her  bed  by  a  broken  limb,  and  was 
complaining  that  the  Fleas  tormentecT  her),  "don't  you  like 
Fleas?  Well,  I  think  they  are  the  prettiest  little  merry 
things  in  the  world. — I  never  saw  a  dull  Flea  in  all  my  life."' 
Dr.  Townson,  as  mentioned  by  the  above  writers,  from  the 
encomium  which  he  bestows  upon  these  vigilant  little  vaulters, 
as  supplying  the  place  of  an  alarum  and  driving  us  from  the 
bed  of  sloth,  should  seem  to  have  regarded  them  with  the 
same  happy  feelings.^ 

W^hen  Ray  and  Willughby  were  traveling,  they  found  "at 

177/47.  of  In.-!   (Murray,  1838),  ii.  312. 

'^  Jcnkin's  Vot/.  of  the  U.  S.  Explor.  Exped.,  p.  385. 

«  Introd.,  i.  100.  *^  Ibid. 


Yenice  and  Angsburg  Fleas  for  sale,  and  at  a  small  price 
too,  decorated  with  steel  or  silver  collars  around  their  necks, 
of  which  Willughby  purchased  one.  When  they  are  kept  in 
a  box  amongst  wool  or  cloth,  in  a  warm  place,  and  fed  once 
a  day,  they  will  live  a  long  time.  When  they  begin  to  suck 
they  erect  themselves  almost  perpendicularly,  thrusting  their 
sucker,  which  originates  in  the  middle  of  the  forehead,  into 
the  skin.  The  itching  is  not  felt  immediately,  but  a  little 
afterwards.  As  soon  as  they  are  full  of  blood,  they  begin 
to  void  a  portion  of  it,  and  thus,  if  permitted,  they  will  con- 
tinue for  many  hours  sucking  and  voiding.  After  the  first 
itching  no  uneasiness  is  subsequently  felt.  Willughby's 
Flea  lived  for  three  months  by  sucking  in  this  manner  the 
blood  of  his  hand;  it  was  at  length  killed  by  the  cold  of 

We  read  in  Purchas's  Pilgrims  that  a  city  of  the  Miantines 
is  said  to  have  been  dispeopled  by  Fleas  ;^  and  Messrs. 
Lewis  and  Clarke,  who  found  4;hese  insects  more  tormenting 
than  all  the  other  plagues  of  the  Missouri  country,  say  they 
sometimes  here  compel  even  the  natives  to  shift  their  quar- 

Dr.  Clarke  was  informed  by  an  Arab  Sheikh  that  "the 
king  of  the  Fleas  held  his  court  at  Tiberias.'*^ 

To  prevent  Fleas  from  breeding,  Pliny  gives  the  following 
curious  recipe :  "  Since  I  have  made  mention  of  the  cuckow," 
says  this  writer,  "there  comes  into  my  mind  a  strange  and  mi- 
raculous matter  that  the  said  magicians  report  of  this  bird; 
namely,  that  if  a  man,  the  first  time  that  he  heareth  her  to 
sing,  presently  stay  his  right  foot  in  the  very  place  where  it 
was  when  he  heard  her,  and  withal  mark  out  the  point  and 
just  proportion  of  the  said  foot  upon  the  ground  as  it  stood, 
and  then  digg  up  the  earth  under  it  within  the  said  compasse, 
look  what  chamber  or  roume  of  the  house  is  strewed  with 
the  said  mould,  there  will  no  Fleas  bread  there.  "^ 

Thomas  Hill,  in  his  Naturall  and  Artificiall  Conclusions, 

1  Ray,  Hist,  of  Ins.,  p.  8. 

2  Pilgr.,  iii.  997. 

Myas,  a  principal  city  of  Ionia,  was  abandoned  on  account  of 
Fleas. —  Wanley's  Wonders,  ii.  507. 

3  K.  and  S.  Introd.,  i.  100. 
*  Travels,  vol.  ii. 

5  Nat.  Hist.,  XXX.  10.     Hell.  Trans.,  p.  387. 


printed  1G50,  quotes  this  passage  from  Pliny,  calling  it  "A 
very  easie  and  merry  conceit  to  keep  off  fleas  from  your  beds 
or  chambers."^ 

The  Hungarian  shepherds  grease  their  linen  with  hogs' 
lard,  and  thus  render  themselves  so  disgusting  even  to  the 
Fleas  and  Lice,  as  to  put  them  effectually  to  flight.^ 

There  is  still  shown  in  the  Arsenal  at  Stockholm  a  diminu- 
tive piece  of  ordnance,  four  or  five  inches  in  length,  with 
which,  report  says,  on  the  authority  of  Linnceus,  the  cele- 
brated Queen  Christiana  used  to  cannonade  Fleas. ^ 

But,  seriously,  if  you  wish  for  an  effectual  remedy,  that 
prescribed  by  old  Tusser,  in  his  Points  of  Goode  Hus- 
bandry, in  the  following  lines,  will  answer  your  purpose : 

While  wormwood  hatli  seed,  get  a  handfull  or  twaine, 
To  save  against  March,  to  malce  flea  to  refraine : 
Where  chamber  is  sweeped  and  wormwood  is  strown, 
No  flea  for  his  life  dare  abide  to  be  known. 

The  inhabitants  of  Dalecarlia  place  the  skins  of  hares  in 
their  apartments,  in  which  the  Fleas  willingly  take  refuge, 
so  that  they  are  easily  destroyed  by  the  immersion  of  the 
skin  in  scalding  water.^ 

Pamphilius  among  others  gives  the  following  remedies 
against  Fleas :  If  a  person,  he  says,  sets  a  dish  in  the  mid- 
dle of  the  house,  and  draws  a  line  around  it  with  an  iron 
sword  (it  will  be  better  if  the  sword  has  done  execution), 
and  if  he  sprinkles  the  rest  of  the  house,  excepting  the 
place  circumscribed,  with  an  irrigation  of  staphisagria,  or 
of  powdered  leaves  of  the  bay-tree,  they  having  been  boiled 
in  brine  or  in  sea-water,  he  will  bring  all  the  Fleas  together 
into  the  dish.  A  jar  also  being  set  in  the  ground  with  its 
edge  even  with  the  pavement,  and  smeared  with  bulls'  fat, 
will  attract  all  the  Fleas,  even  those  that  are  in  the  ward- 
robe. If  you  enter  a  place  where  there  are  Fleas,  express 
the  usual  exclamation  of  distress,  and  they  will  not  touch 
you.  Make  a  small  trench  under  a  bed,  and  pour  goats' 
blood  into  it,  and  it  will  bring  all  the  Fleas  together,  and  it 
will  allure  those  from  your  clothing.    Fleas  may  be  removed 

1  Brand's  Pop.  Antiq.,  ii.  198. 

2  K.  and  S.  Inlrod.,  i.  101. 

3  Lack.  Lapp.,  ii.  32,  note. 

*  Hist,  of  Ins.,  iii.  319,  Murray,  1888. 


also,  concludes  this  writer,  from  the  most  villous  and  from 
the  thickest  pieces  of  tapestry,  whither  they  betake  them- 
selves when  full,  if  goats'  blood  is  set  in  a  vessel  or  in  a 

Moufet  says:   "A   Gloeworm,  set  in   the  middle  of  the 
house,  drives  away  Fleas. "•^ 

On  the  subject  of  destroying  Fleas,  the  following  pleasant 
piece  of  satire,  by  Poor  Humphrey,  will  be  read  witli  a 
smile :  "A  notable  projector  became  notable  by  one  project 
only,  which  was  a  certain  specific  for  the  killing  of  fleas,  and 
it  was  in  form  of  a  powder,  and  sold  in  papers,  with  plain  di- 
rections for  use,  as  followeth:  The  flea  was  to  be  held  con- 
veniently between  the  thumb  and  finger  of  the  left  hand ; 
and  to  the  end  of  the  trunk  or  proboscis,  which  protrudeth 
in  the  flea,  somewhat  as  the  elephant's  doth,  a  very  small 
quantity  of  the  powder  was  to  be  put  from  between  the 
thumb  and  finger  of  the  right  hand.  And  the  deviser  un- 
dertook, if  any  flea  to  whom  his  powder  was  so  administered 
should  prove  to  have  afterwards  bitten  a  purchaser  who 
used  it,  then  that  purchaser  should  have  another  paper  of 
the  said  powder  gratis.  And  it  chanced  that  the  first  paper 
thereof  was  bought  idly,  as  it  were,  by  an  old  woman,  and 
she,  without  meaning  to  injure  the  inventor,  or  his  remedy, 
but,  of  her  mere  harmlessness,  did  innocently  ask  him, 
whether,  when  she  had  caught  the  flea,  and  after  she  had 
got  it,  as  before  described,  if  she  should  kill  it  with  her 
nail  it  would  not  be  as  well.  Whereupon  the  ingenious  in- 
ventor was  so  astonished  by  the  question,  that,  not  knowing 
what  to  answer  on  the  sudden  occasion,  he  said  with  truth 
to  this  effect,  that  without  doubt  her  way  would  do,  too. 
And  according  to  the  belief  of  Poor  Humphrey,  there  is 
not  as  yet  any  device  more  certain  or  better  for  destroying 
a  flea,  when  thou  hast  captured  him,  than  the  ancient  man- 
ner of  the  old  woman's,  or  instead  thereof,  the  drowning  of 
him  in  fair  water,  if  thou  hast  it  by  thee  at  the  time."^ 

The  old  English  hunters  report  that  foxes  are  full  of  Fleas, 
and  they  tell  the  following  queer  story  how  they  get  rid  of 
them  :  "  The  fox,"  say  they,  as  recorded  by  Moufifet,  "  gathers 

1  Owen's  Geoponika,  ii.  155-6. 

2  Thealr.  Ins.,  p.  277.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts,  p.  1103. 

3  Hist,  of  Ins.,  ii.  318.     Murray,  1838. 



some  handfuls  of  wool  from  thorns  and  briars,  and  wrapping 
it  up,  he  holds  it  fast  in  his  mouth,  then  goes  by  degrees 
into  a  cold  river,  and  dipping  himself  close  by  little  and 
little,  when  he  finds  that  all  the  Fleas  are  crept  so  high  as 
his  head  for  fear  of  drowning,  and  so  for  shelter  crept  into 
the  wool,  he  barks  and  spits  out  the  wool,  full  of  Fleas,  and 
so  very  froliquely  being  delivered  from  their  molestation,  he 
swims  to  land."^ 

Ramsay  thus  alludes  to  this  story : 

Then  sure  tlie  lasses,  and  ilk  gaping  coof, 

Wad  rin  about  him,  and  had  out  their  loof. 

M.  As  fast  as  fleas  skip  to  the  tale  of  woo, 

Whilk  slee  Tod  Lowrie  (the  fox)  hads  without  his  mow, 

When  he  to  drown  them,  and  his  hips  to  cool, 

In  summer  days  slides  backward  in  a  pool.^ 

Preceding  this  story,  Mouffet  makes  the  following  observa- 
tions :  "  The  lesser,  leaner,  and  younger  they  are,  the  sharper 
they  bite,  the  fat  ones  being  more  incliQed  to  tickle  and 
play;  and  then  are  not  the  least  plague,  especially  when  in 
greater  numbers,  since  they  molest  men  that  are  sleeping,  and 
trouble  wearied  and  sick  persons;  from  whom  they  escape  by 
skipping ;  for  as  soon  as  they  find  they  are  arraigned  to  die,  and 
feel  the  finger  coming,  on  a  sudden  they  are  gone,  and  leap 
here  and  there,  and  so  escape  the  danger;  but  so  soon  as 
day  breaks,  they  forsake  the  bed.  They  then  creep  into  the 
rough  blankets,  or  hide  themselves  in  rushes  and  dust,  lying 
in  ambush  for  pigeons,  hens,  and  other  birds,  also  for  men 
and  dogs,  moles  and  mice,  and  vex  such  as  passe  by."^. 

It  is  frequently  affirmed  that  asses  are  never  troubled  with 
Fleas  or  other  vermin;  and,  among  the  superstitious,  it  is 
said  that  it  is  all  owing  to  the  riding  of  Christ  upon  one  of 
these  animals.* 

Willsford,  in  his  jS'ature's  Secrets,  printed  1658,  p.  130, 
says  :  "  The  little  sable  beast  (called  a  Flea),  if  much  thirst- 
ing after  blood,  it  argues  rain."^ 

It  is  related  that  the  Devil,  teasing  St.  Domingo  in  the 
shape  of  a  Flea,  skipped  upon  his  book,  when  the  saint 

1  Thcatr.  Ins.,  p.  102. 

2  Ramsay's  Poems,  ii.  143. 
8  Theatre  of  Insects,  p.  102. 

*  Brookes'  Kat.  Hist,  of  Ins.,  p.  284. 

*  Brand's  Fop.  Antiq.,'\n.  204. 


fixed  him  as  a  mark  where  he  left  off,  and  continued  to  use 
him  so  through  the  volume.^ 

Fleas  infesting  beds  were  attributed  to  the  envy  of  the 

Giles  Fletcher  says  that  Iwan  Yasilowich  sent  to  the  City 
of  Moscow  to  provide  for  him  a  measure  full  of  Fleas  for  a 
medicine.  They  answered  that  it  was  impossible,  and  if  they 
could  get  them,  yet  they  could  not  measure  them  because  of 
their  leaping  out.  Upon  which  he  set  a  mulct  upon  the  city 
of  seven  thousand  rubles.^ 

We  read  in  Purchas's  Pilgrims  that  the  Jews  were  not 
permitted  to  burn  Fleas  in  the  flame  of  their  lamps  on  Sab- 
bath evenings.* 

The  muscular  power  of  the  Flea  is  so  great  that  it  can 
leap  to  the  distance  of  two  hundred  times  its  own  length, 
which  will  appear  the  more  surprising  when  we  consider 
that  a  man,  were  he  endowed  with  equal  strength  and  agil- 
ity, would  be  able  to  leap  between  three  and  four  hundred 
yards.  Aristophanes,  in  his  usual  licentious  way,  ridicules 
the  great  Socrates  for  his  pretended  experiments  on  this 
great  muscular  power : 

Disciple.         That  were  not  lawful  to  reveal  to  strangers. 

Strejjsiades.  Speak  boldly  then  as  to  a  fellow-student; 
For  therefore  am  I  come. 

Disc.  Then  I  will  speak  ; 

But  set  it  down  among  our  mysteries. 
It  is  a  question  put  to  Chsrophon 
By  our  great  master  Socrates  to  answer, 
How  many  of  his  own  lengths  at  a  spring 
A  Flea  can  hop;  for  one  by  chance  had  skipp'd 
Straight  from  the  brow  of  Chgerophon  to  th'  head 
,  Of  Socrates. 

Streps.  And  how  did  then  the  sage 

Contrive  to  measure  this? 

Disc.  Most  dext'rously. 

He  dipp'd  the  insect's  feet  in  melted  wax, 
Which  hard'ning  into  slippers  as  it  cool'd, 
By  these  computed  he  the  question'd  space. 

Streps.  O  Jupiter,  what  subtilty  of  thought !  ^ 

1  Southey's  Com.  Place  Bk.,  2d  S.  p.  406. 

2  Fosbr.  Encycl.  of  Antig.,  ii.  539. 

3  Southey's  Com.  Place  Bk.,  4th  S.  p.  470. 

4  Pilffr.,  V.  192. 

5  Aristoph.  Clouds,  A.  i.  Sc.  2. 


The  witty  Butler  has  also  commemorated  the  same  cir- 
cumstance in  his  justly  celebrated  poem  of  Hudibras  : 

How  many  scores  a  Flea  will  jump 
Of  his  own  length,  from  head  to  rump; 
Which  Socrates  and  Chserophoii 
In  vain  assay'd  so  long  agon. 

As  illustrative  of  the  strenp^th  of  the  Flea,  the  following 
facts  may  also  be  given  :  We  read  in  a  note  to  Purchas's 
Pilgrims  that  "one  Marke  Scaliot,  in  London,  made  a  lock 
and  key  and  chain  of  forty-three  links,  all  which  a  Flea  did 
draw,  and  weighed  but  a  grain  and  a  half."^  Mouflfet,  who 
also  records  this  fact,  says  he  had  heard  of  another  Flea 
that  was  harnessed  to  a  golden  chariot,  which  it  drew  with 
the  greatest  ease.^  Bingley  tells  us  that  Mr.  Boverick,  an 
ingenious  watchmaker  in  the  Strand,  exhibited  some  years 
ago  a  little  ivory  chaise  with  four  wheels,  and  all  its  proper 
apparatus,  and  the  figure  of  a  man  sitting  on  the  box,  all  of 
which  were  drawn  by  a  single  Flea.  The  same  mechanic 
afterward  constructed  a  minute  landau,  which  opened  and 
shut  by  springs,  with  the  figures  of  six  horses  harnessed  to 
it,  and  of  a  coachman  on  the  box,  a  dog  between  his  legs, 
four  persons  inside,  two  footmen  behind  it,  and  a  postillion 
riding  on  one  of  the  fore  horses,  which  were  all  easily 
dragged  along  by  a  single  Flea.  He  likewise  had  a  chain 
of  brass,  about  two  inches  long,  containing  two  hundred 
links,  with  a  hook  at  one  end  and  a  padlock  and  key  at  the 
other,  which  a  Flea  drew  nimbly  along.^  At  a  fair  of 
Charlton,  in  Kent,  1830,  a  man  exhibited  three  Fleas  har- 
nessed to  a  carriage  in  form  of  an  omnibus,  at  least  fifty 
times  their  own  bulk,  which  they  pulled  along  with  great 
ease;  another  pair  drew  a  chariot,  and  a  single  Flea  a* 
brass  cannon.  The  exhibitor  showed  the  whole  first  through 
a  magnifying  glass,  and  then  to  the  naked  eye ;   so  that  all 

1  Pilg.,  ii.  840,  note. 

2  Im.  Thentr.,  p.  275. 

3  Anim.  Biog.,  iii.  462. 

The  hand-bill,  published  by  Mr.  Boverick,  in  the  Strand,  in  the 
year  1745,  and  anotliev  nearly  of  the  same  date,  ran  thus:  "  To  be 
seen  at  Mr.  Boverick's.  Watchmaker,  at  the  Dial,  facing  Old  Round 
Court,  near  the  New  Exchange,  in  the  Strand,  at  One  Shilling  each 
person."  Then  follows  a  descriptive  list  of  the  articles  to  be  seen, 
among  which  are  mentioned  the  above.  —  Kirby's  Wonderful  Mu- 
seum, i.  101. 


were  satisfied  there  was  no  deception.^  Latrielle  also  men- 
tions a  Flea  of  a  moderate  size,  which  dragged  a  silver  can- 
non, mounted  on  wheels,  that  was  twenty-four  times  its  own 
weight,  and  which  being  charged  with  gunpowder  was  fired 
off  without  the  Flea  appearing  in  the  least  alarmed.'-' 

It  is  recorded  in  Purchas's  Pilgrims  that  an  Egyptian 
artisan  received  a  garment  of  cloth  of  gold  for  binding  a 
Flea  in  a  chain. ^ 

The  Flea  is  twice  mentioned  in  the  Bible,  and  in  both 
cases  David,  in  speaking  to  Saul,  applies  it  to  himself  as  a 
term  of  humility.* 

A  Prussian  poet,  quoted  by  Jaeger,^  gives  us  the  song  of 
a  young  Flea  who  had  emigrated  to  this  country  from  Prus- 
sia, and  thus  expresses  his  dissatisfaction  to  his  sweetheart: 

Kennst  de  nunmehr  das  Land,  wo  Dorngestripp  und  Distela 

Im  frost'gen  Wald  nur  ecl^elhafte  Tannenzapfen  gliiirn, 
Der  Schierling  tief,  und  hoch  der  Sumach  steht, 
Eiu  rauher  Wind  vom  schwarzen  Himmel  weht; 
Kennst  du  es  wohl?     0  lass  uns  eilig  zieh'u, 
Und  schnell  zuriick  in  unsre  Hiemath  flieli'n  ! 

An  English  prose  translation  of  which  is  :  "  Know'st 
thou  now  this  country,  where  only  briars  and  thistles  bloom  ; 
where  ugly  fur-nuts  only  glow  in  the  icy  forest ;  where  down 
in  the  vale  the  fetid  hemlock  grows,  and  on  the  hills  the 
poisonous  sumach  ;  where  heavy  winds  blow  from  black 
clouds  over  desolate  lands  ?  Dost  thou  not  know  of  this 
country  ?  Oh,  then,  let  us  fly  in  haste  and  return  lo  our 
own  fatherland !" 

**  To  send  one  away  with  a  Flea  in  his  ear,"  is  a  very  old 
English  phrase,  meaning  to  dismiss  one  with  a  rebuke. "^ 
"Flea-luggit"  is  the  Scottish — to  be  unsettled  or  confused.'^ 

There  is  a  collection  of  poems  called  "  La  Puce  des 
grands  jours  de  Poitiers" — the  Flea  of  the  carnival  of  Poi- 
tiers.    The  poems  were  begun  by  the  learned  Pasquier,  who 

1  Ins.  Misc.,  p.  188. 

2  Nouv.  Diet,  d'llist.  Nat.,  xxviii.  249. 
8  Pilg.,  ii.  840. 

4  1  Saml.  xxiv.  14  ;   xxvi.  20. 

5  Hist,  of  Ins.,  p.  310. 

^  Wright's  Provincial  Diet. 
"^  Jamieson's  Scottish  Did, 


edited  the  collection,  upon  a  Flea  which  was  found  one  morn- 
ing  in  the  bosom  of  the  famous  Catherine  des  Roches.^ 

During  the  winter  of  1762,  at  Norwich,  England,  after  a 
chilling  storm  of  snow  and  wind  that  had  destroyed  many 
lives,  myriads  of  Fleas  were  found  skipping  about  on  the 

To  the  Pulicidse  belongs  also  a  native  of  the  West  Indies 
and  South  America,  the  Fulex  penetrans,  variously  named 
in  the  countries  where  it  is  found.  Chigoe,  Jigger,  Nigua, 
Tungua,  and  Pique.  According  to  Stedman,  this  "  is  a 
kind  of  small  sand-flea,  which  gets  in  between  the  skin  and 
the  flesh  without  being  felt,  and  generally  under  the  nails  of 
the  toes,  w^here,  while  it  feeds,  it  keeps  growing  till  it  be- 
comes o|  the  size  of  a  pea,  causing  no  further  pain  than  a 
disagreeable  itching.  In  process  of  time,  its  operation  ap- 
pears in  the  form  of  a  small  bladder,  in  which  are  deposited 
thousands  of  eggs,  or  nits,  and  which,  if  it  breaks,  produce 
so  many  young  Chigoes,  which,  in  course  of  time,  create 
running  ulcers,  often  of  very  dangerous  consequence  to  the 
patient ;  so  much  so,  indeed,  that  I  knew  a  soldier  the  soles 
of  whose  feet  were  obliged  to  be  cut  away  before  he  could 
recover;  and  some  men  have  lost  their  limbs  by  amputa- 
tion— nay,  even  their  lives — by  having  neglected  in  time  to 
root  out  these  abominable  vermin.  The  moment,  therefore, 
that  a  redness  and  itching  more  than  usual  are  perceived,  it 
is  time  to  extract  the  Chigoe  that  occasions  them.  This  is 
done  with  a  sharp-pointed  needle,  taking  care  not  to  occa- 
sion unnecessary  pain,  and  to  prevent  the  Chigoe  from  break- 
ing in  the  wound.  Tobacco  ashes  are  put  into  the  orifice, 
by  which  in  a  little  time  the  sore  is  perfectly  healed."^  The 
female  slaves  are  generally  employed  to  extract  these  pests, 
which  they  do  with  uncommon  dexterity.  Old  Ligon  tells 
us  he  had  ten  Chigoes  taken  out  of  his  feet  in  a  morning  "  by 
the  most  unfortunate  Yarico,"^  whose  tragical  story  is  now 
so  celebrated  in  prose  and  verse.  Mr.  Soutliey  says  that 
many  of  the  first  settlers  of  Brazil,  before  they  knew  the 
remedy  to  extract  the  Chigoes,  lost  their  feet  in  the  most 
dreadful  manner.^ 

1  D'Israeli,  Curios,  of  Lit.,  i.  339. 

2  Gent.  3Iaff.,  xxxii.  208, 

3  Stedman's  Siiri/iam, 
*  IJist.  of  Barbados,  p.  G5. 
6  Hist,  of  Brazil,  i.  326. 


Walton,  in  his  Present  State  of  the  Spanish  Colonies, 
tells  us  of  a  Capuchin  friar,  who  carried  away  with  hira  a 
colony  of  Chigoes  in  his  foot  as  a  present  to  the  Scientific 
Colleges  in  Europe  ;  but,  unfortunately  for  himself  and  for 
science,  the  length  of  the  voyage  produced  mortification  in 
his  leg,  that  it  became  necessary  to  cut  it  off  to  save  the 
zealous  missionary's  life,  and  the  leg,  with  all  its  inhabit- 
ants, were  tumbled  together  into  the  sea.^ 

Humboldt  observes  ''  that  the  whites  born  in  the  torrid 
zone  walk  barefoot  with  impunity  in  the  same  apartment 
where  a  European,  recently  landed,  is  exposed  to  the  attack 
of  this  animal.  The  Nigua,  therefore,  distinguishes  what 
the  most  delicate  chemical  analysis  could  not  distinguish, 
the  cellular  membrane  and  blood  of  an  European  from  those 
of  a  Creole  white. "^ 

1  Vol.  i.  p.  128. 

2  Fers.  Narrative,  E.  T,  v.  101. 



Pediculidse— Lice. 

At  Hurdenburg,  in  Sweden,  Mr.  Hurst  tells  us  the  mode 
of  choosing  a  burgomaster  is  this:  The  persons  eligible  sit 
around,  with  their  beards  upon  a  table ;  a  Louse  is  then  put 
in  the  middle  of  the  table,  and  the  one,  in  whose  beard  this 
insect  first  takes  cover,  is  the  magistrate  for  the  ensuing 

Respecting  the  revenue  of  Montecusuma,  which  consisted 
of  the  natural  products  of  the  country,  and  what  was  pro- 
duced by  the  industry  of  his  subjects,  we  find  the  following 
story  in  Torquemada:  "During  the  abode  of  Montecusuma 
among  the  Spaniards,  in  the  palace  of  his  father,  Alonzo  de 
Ojeda  one  day  espied  in  a  certain  apartment  of  the  building 
a  number  of  small  bags  tied  up.  He  imagined  at  first  that 
they  were  filled  with  gold  dust,  but  on  opening  one  of  them, 
what  was  his  astonishment  to  find  it  quite  full  of  Lice? 
Ojeda,  greatly  surprised  at  the  discovery  he  had  made,  im- 
mediately communicated  what  he  had  seen  to  Cortes,  who 
then  asked  Marina  and  Anguilar  for  some  explanation. 
Tiiey  informed  him  that  the  Mexicans  had  such  a  sense  of 
their  duty  to  pay  tribute  to  their  monarch,  that  the  poorest 
and  meanest  of  the  inhabitants,  if  they  possessed  nothing 
better  to  present  to  their  king,  daily  cleaned  their  persons, 
and  saved  all  the  Lice  they  caught,  and  that  when  they  had 
a  good  store  of  these,  they  laid  them  in  bags  at  the  feet  of 
their  monarch."  Torquemada  further  remarks,  that  his 
reader  might  think  these  bags  were  filled  with  small  worms 
(gasanillos),  and  not  with  Lice ;  but  appeals  to  Alonzo  de 

1  Bayle,  iii.  484.     Southey's  Com.  Place  Bk.,  4th  S.  p.  439. 


Ojeda,  and  another  of  Cortes'  soldiers,  named  Alonzo  de 
Mata,  who  were  eye-witnesses  of  the  fact.^ 

Oviedo  pretends  to  have  observed  that  Lice,  at  the  eleva- 
tion of  the  tropics,  abandon  the  Spanish  sailors  that  are 
going  to  the  Indies,  and  attack  them  again  at  the  same  point 
on  their  return.  The  same  is  reported  in  Purchas's  Pil- 
grims.2  One  of  the  supplementary  writers  to  Cuvier's  His- 
tory of  Insects  says:  "This  is  an  observation  that  has  need 
of  being  corroborated  by  more  certain  testimonies  than  we 
are  yet  in  possession  of.  But,  if  true,  there  would  be  nothing 
in  the  fact  very  surprising.  A  degree  of  considerable  heat, 
and  a  more  abundant  perspiration,  might  prove  unfavorable 
to  the  propagation  of  the  Pediculi  corporis.  As  their 
skin  is  more  tender,  the  influence  of  the  air  might  prove 
detrimental  to  them  in  those  burning  climates."^ 

We  read  in  Purchas's  Pilgrims,  that  "if  Lice  doe  much 
annoy  the  natives  of  Cambaia  and  Malabar,  they  call  to 
them  certain  Religious  and  holy  men,  after  their  account : 
and  these  Observants  y  will  take  upon  them  all  those  Lice 
which  the  other  can  find,  and  put  them  on  their  head,  there 
to  nourish  them.  But  yet  for  all  this  lousie  scruple,  they 
stick  not  to  coozeuage  by  falese  weights,  measures,  and  coyne, 
nor  at  usury  and  lies."^ 

In  a  side-note  to  this  curious  passage,  we  find  :  "The  like 
lousie  trick  is  reported  in  the  Legend  of  S.  Fraiicis,  and  in 
the  life  of  Ignatius,  of  one  of  the  Jesuitical  pillars,  by 

Steedman  says  of  the  Caffres,  that  "except  an  occasional 
plunge  in  a  river,  they  never  wash  themselves,  and  conse- 
quently their  bodies  are  covered  with  vermin.  On  a  fine  day 
their  karosses  are  spread  out  in  the  sun,  and  as  their  torment- 
ors creep  forth  they  are  doomed  to  destruction.  It  often  hap- 
pens that  one  Cafifir  performs  for  another  the  kind  office  of 
collecting  these  insects,  in  which  case  he  preserves  the  ento- 
mological specimens,  carefully  delivering  them  to  the  person 

1  Bernal  Diaz'  Conquest  of  Mexico,  i.  394,  note  54.  This  story,  no 
doubj^,  is  founded  on  something  like  truth,  and  most  probably  these 
bags  were  filled  with  ihe.  Coccus  cacti,  the  Cochineal  insect,  then  un- 
known to  the  Spaniards,  who  might  have  easily  mistaken  them  in 
a  dried  state  for  Lice. 

2  Filg.,  iii.  975. 

3  Cuv.  An.  King. — Ins.,  i.  163. 
*  Pilg.,  V.  542. 



to  wliom  they  originally  appertained,  supposing,  according  to 
their  theory,  that  as  they  derived  their  support  from  the  blood 
of  the  man  from  whom  they  were  taken,  should  they  be  killed 
by  another,  the  blood  of  his  neighbor  would  be  in  his  pos- 
session, thus  placing  in  his  hands  the  power  of  some  super- 
human influence."^ 

Kolben  says  the  Hottentots  eat  the  largest  of  the  Lice 
with  which  they  swarm  ;  and  that  if  asked  how  they  can 
devour  such  detestable  vermin,  they  plead  the  law  of  retali- 
ation, and  urge  that  it  is  no  shame  to  eat  those  who  would 
eat  them — ''  They  suck  our  blood,  and  we  devour  'em  in 

We  are  assured  in  Purchas's  Pilgrims,  that  Lice  and 
''long  wormes"  were  sold  for  food  in  Mexico.^  From  this 
ancient  collection  of  Travels,  we  learn  that  when  the  Indians 
of  the  Province  of  Cuena  are  infected  with  Lice,  "they 
dresse  and  cleanse  one  another  ;  and  they  that  exercise  this, 
are  for  the  most  part  women,  who  eate  all  that  they  take, 
and  have  herein  (eating?)  such  dexterity  by  reason  of  their 
exercise,  that  our  own  men  cannot  lightly  attaine  there- 

The  Budini,  a  people  of  Scythia,  commonly  feed  upon 
Lice  and  other  vermin  bred  upon  their  bodies.^ 

Mr.  AVafer,  in  his  description  of  the  Isthmus  of  America, 
says:  "The  natives  have  Lice  in  their  Heads,  which  they 
feel  out  with  their  Fingers,  and  eat  as  they  catch  them."® 
Dobrizhoffer  also  mentions  that  Lice  are  eaten  by  the  Indian 
women  of  South  America.^ 

.  The  disgusting  practice  of  eating  these  vermin  is  not  con- 
fined to  the  Hottentots,  the  Negroes  of  Western  Africa,  the 
Simiae,  and  the  American  Indians,  for  it  has  been  observed 
to  prevail  among  the  beggars  of  Spain  and  Portugal.^ 

Schroder,  in  his  History  of  Animals  that  are  useful  in 
Physic,    says :    "  Lice    are   swallowed   by   country   people 

1  Wand,  and  Adv.  in  S.  Africa,  i.  266. 

2  Kolb.  Trav.,  ii.  179.     Astley's  Col.  of  Vorj.  and  Trav.,  iii.  3^2. 

3  Fi/g.,  iii.  1133. 

4  Ibid.,  iii.  975. 

5  Wanley's  Wonders,  ii.  373. 

6  Dampier's  Voj/.,  iii.  331.     Loud.  1729. 

7  Dobi-iz.,  ii.  396.     Southey's  Co7n.  Place  Bk.,  2d  S.  p.  527. 

8  Cuvier,  An.  Kingd. — Ins.,  i.  163. 


acrainst  the  jaundice."^     As  a  specific  against  this  disease, 
Beaumont  and  Fletcher  thus  allude  to  them  : 

Die  of  the  jaundice,  yet  have  the  cure  about  you;  lice,  large  lice, 
begot  of  your  own  dust  and  the  heat  of  the  brick  kilns. '^ 

Lice  were  also  made  use  of  in  cases  of  Atrophy,  and 
Dioscorides  says  they  were  employed  in  suppressions  of 
urine,  being  introduced  into  the  canal  of  the  urethra.^ 

In  the  Gentleman's  Magazine  for  1Y46,  there  is  a  curious 
letter  on  "a  certain  creature,  of  rare  and  extraordinary 
qualities" — a  Louse,  containing  many  humorous  observa- 
tions on  \k\\%  ^' lover  of  the  human  race,"  and  concluding 
with  some  queries  as  to  its  origin  and  pedigree.  "Was  it," 
the  writer  asks,  "created  within  the  six  days  assigned  by 
Moaes  for  the  formation  of  all  things  ?  If  so,  where  was 
its  habitation  ?  We  can  hardly  suppose  that  it  was  quar- 
tered on  Adam  or  his  lady,  the  neatest,  nicest  pair  (if  we 
believe  John  Milton)  that  ever  joyned  hands.  And  yet,  as 
it  disdained  to  graze  the  fields,  or  lick  the  dust  for  suste- 
nance, where  else  could  it  have  had  its  subsistence  ?"* 

In  a  modern  account  of  Scotland,  written  by  an  English 
gentleman,  and  printed  in  the  year  1670,  we  find  the  follow- 
ing:  "In  that  interval  between  Adam  and  Moses,  when  the 
Scottish  Chronicle  commences,  the  country  was  then  bap- 
tized (and  most  think  with  the  sign  of  the  cross)  by  the 
venerable  name  of  Scotland,  from  Scota,  the  daughter  of 
Pharaoh,  King  of  Egypt.  Hence  came  the  rise  and  name 
of  these  present  inhabitants,  as  their  Chronicle  informs  us, 
and  is  not  to  be  doubted  of,  from  divers  considerable  cir- 
cumstances; the  plagues  of  Egypt  being  entailed  upon 
them,  that  of  Lice  (being  a  judgment  unrepealed)  is  an 
ample  testimony,  these  loving  animals  accompanied  them 
from  Egypt,  and  remain  with  them  to  this  day,  never  forsaking 
them  (but  as  rats  leave  a  house)  till  they  tumble  into  their 

Linnaeus,  seemingly  very  anxious  to  become  an  apologist 
for  the  Lice,  gravely  observes  that  they  probably  preserve 

1  Southey's  Com.  Place  BL,  4th  S.  p.  439. 

2  Thierry  and  Theod.,  A.  v.  So.  1. 

3  James's  Med.  Diet. 

*  Gent.  Mag.,  xvi.  534. 

s  Harleian  MisceL,  vii.  435. 


children  who  are  troubled  with  them,  from  a  variety  of  com- 
plaints to  which  they  would  be  liable  !^ 

As  an  attempt  toward  discovering  the  intention  of  Provi- 
dence in  permitting  the  frequency  of  these  tormenting  ani- 
mals, the  following  lines  of  Serenus  may  be  given  : 

See  nature,  kindly  provident  ordain 
Her  gentle  stimulants  to  harmless  pain  ; 
Lest  Man,  the  slave  of  rest,  should  waste  away 
In  torpid  slumlaer  life's  important  day  ! 

Of  the  horrible  disease,  Phthiriasis,  occasioned  by  myriads 
of  Lice,  PedicuU,  and  sometimes  by  Mites,  Acari,  and  Larvse 
in  general,  I  shall  but  mention  that  the  inhuman  Pheretrina, 
Antiochus  Epiphanes,  the  Dictator  Sylla,  the  two  Herods, 
the  Emperor  Maximin,  and  Philip  the  Second  were  among 
the  number  carried  off  by  it. 

Quintus  Serenus  speaks  thus  of  the  death  of  Sylla  : 

Great  Sylla  too  the  fatal  scourge  hath  known; 
Slain  by  a  host  far  mightier  than  his  own. 

According  to  Pliny,  Nits  are  destroyed  by  using  dog's 
fat,  eating  serpents  cooked  like  eels,  or  else  taking  their 
sloughs  in  drink. ^ 

In  Leyden's  Notes  to  Complayntof  Scotland  are  recorded 
the  following  few  rhymes  of  the  Gyre-carlin — the  bug-bear 
of  King  James  Y. 

The  Mouse,  the  Louse,  and  Little  Rede, 
Were  a'  to  mak'  a  gruel  in  a  lead. 

The  two  first  associates  desire  Little  Rede  to  go  to  the 
door,  to  "see  what  he  could  see."  He  declares  that  he  saw 
the  gyre-carlin  coming, 

With  spade,  and  shool,  and  trowel, 
To  lick  up  a'  the  gruel. 

Upon  which  the  party  disperse  : 

The  Louse  to  the  claith, 

And  the  Mouse  to  the  wa', 
Little  Rede  behind  the  door, 

And  licket  up  a'.^ 

1  Shaw,  Zool,  vi.454. 

2  Nat.  Hist.,  xxix.  0  (75). 

3  Chambers'  Fop.  Rhymes  of  Scot!.,  p.  282-3.   Edit,  of  1841,  p.  243. 



Acaridae — Mites. 

The  white  spot  on  the  back  of  a  certain  species  of  Wood- 
tic  (Acarus)  is  said  to  be  the  spot  where  the  pin  went 
through  the  body  when  Noah  pinned  it  in  the  Ark  to  keep 
it  from  troubling  him. 

Phalangidse— Daddy-Long-legs. 

A  superstition  obtains  among  our  cow-boys  that  if  a  cow 
be  lost,  its  whereabouts  may  be  learned  by  inquiring  of  the 
Daddy-Long-legs  (Phalangium),  which  points  out  the  di- 
rection of  the  lost  animal  with  one  of  its  fore  legs. 

In  England,  the  Phalangium  has  been  christened  the  liar- 
vest- man,  from  a  superstitious  belief  that  if  it  be  killed  there 
will  be  a  bad  harvest.^ 

Pedipalpi — Scorpions. 

Concerning  the  generation  of  the  Scorpion,  Topsel,  in 
his  History  of  Four-footed  Beasts  and  Serpents,  printed  in 
1658,  treats  as  follows: 

"Now,  then,  it  followeth  that  we  inquire  about  the  man- 
ner of  their  (Scorpions')  breed  or  generation,  which  I  find 
to  be  double,  as  divers  authors  have  observed,  one  way  is 

1  Properly  the  second  Class  of  the  sub-kingdom  Articulata. 

2  Chambers'  Book  of  Days,  i.  687. 

28*  ( 321  ) 


by  putrefaction,  and  the  other  by  laying  of  egges,  and  both 
these  ways  are  consonant  to  nature,  for  Lacinius  writeth 
that  some  creatures  are  generated  only  by  propagation  of 
seed  —  such  are  men,  vipers,  whales,  and  the  palm-tree; 
some  again  only  by  putrefaction,  as  mice.  Scorpions,  Emmets, 
Spiders,  purslain,  which,  first  of  all,  were  produced  by  pu- 
trefaction, and  since  their  generation  are  conserved  by  the 
seed  and  egges  of  their  own  kinde.  Now,  therefore,  we 
will  first  of  all  speak  of  the  generation  of  Scorpions  by  pu- 
trefaction, and  afterward  by  propagation. 

"Pliny  saith^  that  when  Seacrabs  dye,  and  their  bodies 
are  dried  upon  the  earth,  when  the  sun  entereth  into  Can- 
cer and  Scorpius,  out  of  the  putrefaction  thereof  ariseth  a 
Scorpion ;  and  so  out  of  the  putrefied  body  of  the  crefish 
burned  arise  Scorpions,  which  caused  Ovid  thus  to  write: 

Concava  littoreo  si  demas  brachia  cancro, 
Caeiera  supponas  terne,  de  parte  sepulia 
Scorpius  exibit,  caudaque  minabitur  unca. 

And  again : 

Obrutus  exemptis  cancer  tellure  lacertis, 
Scorpius  exiguo  tempore  factus  erit. 

In  English  thus  :  ■ 

If  that  the  arms  you  take  from  Sea-crab-fish, 
And  put  the  rest  in  earth  till  all  consumed  be, 
Out  of  the  buried  part  a  Scorpion  will  arise, 
"With  hooked  tayl  doth  threaten  for  to  hurt  thee. 

"And  therefore  it  is  reported  by  ^lianus  that  about  Es- 
tamenus,  in  India,  there  are  abundance  of  Scorpions  gene- 
rated only  by  corrupt  rain-water  standing  in  that  place. 
Also  out  of  the  Basalisk  beaten  into  pieces  and  so  putre- 
fied are  Scorpions  engendered.  And  when  as  one  had 
planted  the  herb  basilica  on  a  wall,  in  the  room  or  place 
thereof  he  found  two  Scorpions.  And  some  say  that  if  a  man 
chaw  in  his  mouth  fasting  this  herb  basill  before  he  wash,  and 
afterward  lay  the  same  abroad  uncovered  where  no  sun 
Cometh  at  it  for  the  space  of  seven  nights,  taking  it  in  all 
the  daytime,  he  shall  at  length  finde  it  transmuted  into  a 
Scorpion,  with  a  tayl  of  seven  knots. ^ 

1  Nat.  Hist.,  XX.  12. 

2Cf.  Pliny,  X.  12:   and  Moufet's  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  205, 


"  Hollerius,^  to  take  away  all  scruple  of  this  thing,  writeth 
that  in  Italy  in  his  dayes  there  was  a  man  that  had  a  Scor- 
pion bred  in  his  brain  by  continuall  smelling  to  this  herb 
basill ;  and  Gesner,  by  relation  of  an  apothecary  in  France, 
writeth  likewise  a  story  of  a  young  maid  who,  by  smelling 
to  basill,  fell  into  an  exceeding  headache,  whereof  she  died 
without  cure,  and  after  death,  being  opened,  there  were 
found  little  Scorpions  in  her  brain. 

"Aristotle  remembreth  an  herb  which  he  calleth  sissira- 
bria,  out  of  which  putrefied  Scorpions  are  engendered,  as 
he  writeth.  And  we  have  shewed  already,  in  the  history  of 
the  Crocodile,  that  out  of  the  Crocodile's  egges  do  many 
times  come  Scorpions,  which  at  their  first  egression  do  kill 
their  dam  that  hatched  them,  which  caused  Archelaus,  which 
wrote  epigrams  of  wonders  unto  Ptolemaeus,  to  sing  of  Scor- 
pions in  this  manner  : 

In  vos  dissolvit  morte,  et  redigit  crocodilum 
Natura  extiuctum,  Scorpii  omnipotens. 

Which  may  be  Englished  thus  : 

To  you  by  Scorpions  death  the  omnipotent 
Ruines  the  crocodil  in  nature's  life  extinct."  2 

The  remarks  referred  to  by  Topsel  in  the  last  paragraph 
in  his  history  of  the  Crocodile  are  as  follows : 

"  It  is  said  by  Philes  that,  after  the  egge  is  laid  by  the 
crocodile,  many  times  there  is  a  cruel  Stinging  Scorpion 
which  cometh  out  thereof,  and  woundeth  the  crocodile  that 
laid  it.^ 

"  The  Scorpion  also  and  the  crocodile  are  enemies  one  to 

1  B.  i.  ch.  1. 

^  Hist,  of  Four-footed  Beasts  and  Serpents,  p.  753. — Scorpions  are 
bred  "from  the  carkass  of  the  crocodile,  as  Antigonus  affirms,  lib. 
de  mirab.  hist.  cong.  24.  For  in  Archelaus  there  is  an  epigram  of  a 
certain  Egyptian  in  these  words: 

In  vos  dissolvit  morte,  et  redigit  crocodilum, 
Natura  extinctum  (Scorpioli)  omniparens. 

In  English  : 

The  carkass  of  dead  crocodiles  is  made  the  feed, 
By  common  nature,  whence  Scorpions  breed." 

Moufet's  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  208.     Topsel's  Trans.,  p.  1052. 
3  Qua  supra,  p.  (385. 


the  other,  and  therefore  when  the  Egyptians  will  describe 
the  combat  of  two  notable  enemies,  they  paint  a  crocodile 
and  a  Scorpion  Bghting  together,  for  ever  one  of  them  kill- 
eth  another;  but  if  they  will  decipher  a  speedy  overthrow 
to  one's  enemy,  then  they  picture  a  crocodile;  if  a  slow  and 
slack  victory,  they  picture  a  Scorpion."^ 

"Some  maintain,"  says  Moufet,  "that  they  (Scorpions) 
are  not  bred  by  copulation,  but  by  exceediog  heat  of  the 
sun.  JElian,  lib.  6,  de  Anim,  cap.  22,  among  whom  Galen 
must  first  be  blamed,  who  in  his  Book  de  feet.  form,  will 
not  have  nature,  but  chance  to  be  the  parent  of  Scorpions, 
Flies,  Spiders,  Worms  of  all  sorts,  and  he  ascribes  their  be- 
ginning to  the  uncertain  constitutions  of  the  heavens,  place, 
matter,  heat,  etc."^ 

Topsel  further  says :  "  The  principall  of  all  other  sub- 
jects of  their  (the  Scorpions')  hatred  are  virgins  and  women, 
whom  they  do  not  only  desire  to  harm,  but  also  when  they 
have  harmed  are  never  perfectly  recovered.   (Albertus)  .  .  . 

"  The  lion  is  by  the  Scorpion  put  to  flight  wheresoever  he 
seeith  it,  for  he  feareth  it  as  the  enemy  of  his  life,  and  there- 
fore writeth  S.  Ambrose,  Exiguo  Scorpionis  aculeo  exagi- 
tatur  leo,  the  lion  is  much  moved  at  the  small  sting  of  a 

Naude  tells  us  that  there  is  a  species  of  Scorpions  in 
Italy,  which  are  so  domesticated  as  to  be  put  between  sheets 
to  cool  the  beds  during  the  heat  of  summer.*  Pliny  men- 
tions that  the  Scorpions  of  Italy  are  harmless.^ 

Among  the  curious  things  recorded  by  Pliny  concerning 
the  Scorpion,  the  following  have  been  selected :  Some 
writers,  he  says,  are  of  opinion  that  the  Scorpion  devours 
its  offspring,  and  that  the  one  among  the  young  which  is  the 
most  adroit  avails  itself  of  its  sole  mode  of  escape  by  placing 
itself  on  the  back  of  the  mother,  and  thus  finding  a  place 
where  it  is  in  safety  from  the  tail  and  the  sting.  The  one 
that  thus  escapes,  they  say,  becomes  the  avenger  of  the  rest, 

1  -Qua  supra,  p.  689. 

2  Ibid.,  p.  207.     Topsel's  Trans.,  p.  1051. 

3  Ibid.,  p.  754. 

*  Andrew's  Anecdotes,  p.  427. 

^  Nat.  Hist.,  xi.  25.  Pliny  here  probably  alludes  to  the  Panorpis, 
or  Scorpion- fly,  the  abdomen  of  which  terminates  in  a  foi'ccps, 
which  redembles  the  tail  of  the  Scorpion. 


and  at  last,  taking;  advantage  of  its  elevated  position,  puts 
its  parent  to  death. ^ 

According  to  Pliny,  those  who  carry  the  plant  "  tricoc- 
cum,"  or,  as  it  is  also  called,  "scorpiuron,"^  about  their 
person  are  never  stung  by  a  Scorpion,  and  it  is  said,  he  con- 
tinues, that  if  a  circle  is  traced  on  the  ground  around  a 
Scorpion  with  a  sprig  of  this  plant,  the  animal  will  never 
move  out  of  it,  and  that  if  a  Scorpion  is  covered  with  it,  or 
even  sprinkled  with  the  water  in  which  it  has  been  steeped, 
it  will  die  that  instant.^ 

Attains  assures  us,  says  Pliny,  that  if  a  person,  the  mo- 
ment he  sees  a  Scorpion,  says  "Duo,"*  the  reptile  will  stop 
short  and  forbear  to  sting.^ 

Concerning  Scorpions,  Diophanes,  contemporary  with 
Ciesar  and  Cicero,  has  collected  the  following  several 
opinions  of  the  more  ancient  writers :  If  you  take  a  Scor- 
pion, he  says,  and  burn  it,  the  others  will  betake  themselves 
to  flight :  and  if  a  person  carefully  rubs  his  hands  with  the 
juice  of  radish,  he  may  without  fear  and  danger  take  hold 
of  Scorpions,  and  of  other  reptiles:  and  radishes  laid  on 
Scorpions  instantly  destroy  them.  You  will  also  cure  the 
bite  of  a  Scorpion,  by  applying  a  silver  ring  to  the  place. 
A  sufifumigation  of  sandarach*^  with  galbanura,  or  goat's  fat, 
will  drive  away  Scorpions  and  every  other  reptile.  If  a  per- 
son will  also  l3oiI  a  Scorpion  in  oil,  and  will  rub  the  place 
bit  by  a  Scorpion,  he  will  stop  the  pain.^  Bat  Apuleius 
says,  that  if  a  person  bit  by  a  Scorpion  sits  on  an  ass,  turned 
toward  its  tail,  that  the  ass  suffers  the  pain,  and  that  it  is 
destroyed.^  Democritus  says  that  a  person  bit  by  a  Scor- 
pion, who  instantly  says  to  his  ass,  "A  Scorpion  has  bit 
me,"  will  suffer  no  pain,  but  it  passes  to  the  ass.^     The  newt 

1  Nat.  Hist.,  xi.  25. 

2  "Scorpion's  tail."  Dioscorides  gives  this  name  to  the  Ileliosco- 
pium,  or  great  Heliotropium. 

3  Nat.  Hist.,  xxii.  29. 

4  ''Two." 

5  Nat.  Hist.,  xxviii.  5. 

6  The  red  arsenic  of  the  Greeks  was  called  by  this  name. — Mat- 
thiol,  vi.  81. 

"f  This  prescription  is  given  at  the  present  day  in  Italy  and  the 

^  Zoroaster  also  mentions  this.  Vide  Owen's  Geoponika,  ii.  194. 

9  Pliny  relates  the  same  story,  Nat.  Hist.,  xxviii.  10  (42) ;  also 
Zoroaster,  qua  supra. 


has  an  antipathy  to  the  Scorpion:  if  a  person,  therefore, 
melts  a  newt  in  oil,  and  applies  the  oil  to  the  person  that  is 
bitten,  he  frees  him  from  pain.  The  same  author  also  says 
that  the  root  of  a  rose-tree  being  applied,  cures  persons  bit 
by  Scorpions.  Plutarch  recommends  to  fasten  small  nuts  to 
the  feet  of  the  bed,  that  Scorpions  may  not  approach  it. 
Zoroaster  says  that  lettuce-seed,  being  drunk  with  wine, 
cures  persons  bit  by  Scorpions.  Florentinus  says,  if  one 
applies  the  juice  of  the  fig  to  the  wound  of  a  person  just 
bitten,  that  the  poison  will  proceed  no  farther;  or,  if  the 
person  bit  eat  squill,  he  will  not  be  hurt,  but  he  will  say 
that  the  squill  is  pleasant  to  his  palate.  Tarentinus  also 
says  that  a  person  holding  the  herb  sideritis  may  take 
hold  of  Scorpions,  and  not  be  hurt  by  them.^  Dioscorides, 
among  many  other  remedies  for  the  sting  of  the  Scorpion, 
prescribes  "a  fish  called  Lacerta,  salted  and  cut  in  pieces; 
the  barbel  fish  cut  in  two ;  the  flesh  of  a  fish  called  Smaris; 
house-mice  cut  asunder;  horse  or  ass  dung;  the  shell  of  an 
Indian  small  nut ;  ram's  flesh  burnt ;  mummie,  four  grains, 
with  butter  and  cow's  milk;  a  broiled  Scorpion  eaten  ;  river- 
crabs  raw  and  bruised,  and  drank  with  asses'  milk :  locusts 
broiled  and  eaten,"  etc.  Rabby  Moyses  prescribes  pigeon's 
dung  dried ;  Constantinus,  hens'  dung,  or  the  heart  applied 
outwardly;  Anatolius,  crows' dung;  Averrhois,  the  bezoar- 
stoue;  Monus,  silver;  Silvaticus,  from  Serapis,  pewter;  and 
Orpheus,  coral. 

"Quintus  Serenus  writes  thus,  and  a.dviseth: 

These  are  small  things,  but  yet  their  wounds  are  great, 

And  in  pure  bodies  lurking  do  most  harm. 

For  when  our  senses  inward  do  retreat, 

And  men  are  fast  asleep,  they  need  some  charm, 

The  Spider  and  the  cruel  Scorpion 

Are  wont  to  sting,  witnesse  great  Orion, 

Slayn  by  a  Scorpion,  for  poysons  small 

Have  mighty  force,  and  therefore  presently 

Lay  on  a  Scorpion  bruised,  to  recall 

The  veuome,  or  sea-water  to  apply 

Is  held  full  good,  such  virtue  is  in  brine, 

And  'tis  approved  to  drink  your  till  of  wine. 

"And  Macer  writes  of  houseleek  thus : 

Owen's  Geoponika,  ii   14G-8. 


Men  say  that  houseleek  hath  so  soveraign  a  might-, 
AVho  carries  but  that,  no  Scorpion  can  him  bite."  ^ 

The  natives  of  South  Africa,  when  bitten  by  a  Scorpion, 
apply,  as  a  remedy,  a  living  frog  to  the  wound,  into  which 
animal  it  is  supposed  the  poison  is  tranferred  from  the 
wound,  and  it  dies;  then  they  apply  another,  which  dies 
also :  the  third  perhaps  only  becomes  sickly,  and  the  fourth 
no  way  affected.  When  this  is  observed,  the  poison  is  con-, 
sidered  to  be  extracted,  and  the  patient  cured.  Another 
method  is  to  apply  a  kidney,  scarlet,  or  other  bean,  which 
swells;  then  apply  another  and  another,  till  the  bean  ceases 
to  be  affected,  when  they  consider  the  poison  extracted.^ 

There  is  a  vast  desert  tract,  says  Pliny,  on  this  side  of  the 
Ethiopian  Cynaraolgi — the  ** dog-milkers" — the  inhabitants 
of  which  were  exterminated  by  Scorpions  and  venomous 

Navarette  tells  us,  in  the  account  of  his  voyage  to  the 
Philippine  Islands,  that  there  was  there  in  practice  a  good 
and  easy  remedy  against  the  Scorpions  which  abound  in  that 
country.  This  was,  when  thejwent  to  bed,  to  make  a  com- 
memoration of  St.  George.  He  himself,  he  says,  for  many 
years  continued  this  devotion,  and,  "God  be  praised,"  he 
adds,  "the  Saint  always  delivered  me  both  there  and  in 
other  countries  from  those  and  such  like  insects."  He  con- 
fesses, however,  they  used  another  remedy  besides,  which  was 
to  rub  all  about  the  beds  with  garlic* 

Navarette^  and  Barbof'  both  tell  us  that  a  certain  remedy 
against  the  sting  of  a  Scorpion,  is  to  rub  the  wound  with  a 
child's  private  member.  This,  the  latter  adds,  immediately 
takes  away  the  pain,  and  then  the  venom  exhales.  The 
moisture  that  comes  from  a  hen's  mouth,  Barbot  says,  is 
also  good  for  the  same. 

The  Persians  believe  that  Scorpions  may  be  deprived  of 
the  power  of  stinging,  by  means  of  a  certain  prayer  which 
they  make  use  of  for  that  purpose.  The  person  who  has  the 
power  of  "binding  the  Scorpion,"  as  it  is  called,  turns  his 

1  Moufet's  Theatr.  Ins.,  210-215.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts  and  Ser- 
pents, p.  1053-7. 

2  Campbell's  Travels  in  S.  Africa,  p.  325. 

3  Nat.  Hist.,  Yiii.  29  (43). 
*  Churchill's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  1.  212. 
6  Ibid.  «  Ibid.,  V.  221. 


face  toward  the  sign  Scorpio,  in  the  heavens,  and  repeats 
this  prayer;  while  every  person  present,  at  the  conclusion  of 
a  sentence,  claps  his  hands.  After  this  is  done  they  think 
that  they  are  perfectly  safe ;  nor,  if  they  should  chance  to 
see  any  Scorpions  during  that  night,  do  they  scruple  to  take 
hold  of  them,  trusting  to  the  efficacy  of  this  fancied  all- 
powerful  charm.  "I  have  frequently  seen,"  says  Francklin, 
"the  man  in  whose  family  I  lived,  repeat  the  above-mentioned 
prayer,  on  being  desired  by  his  children  to  bind  the  Scor- 
pions; after  which  the  whole  family  has  gone  quietly  and 
contentedly  to  bed,  fully  persuaded  that  they  could  receive 
no  hurt  by  them."^ 

Bell  says  the  Persians  "have  such  a  dread  of  these  creat- 
ures, that,  when  provoked  by  any  person,  they  wish  a  Kashan 
Scorpion  may  sting  him.'" 

An  old  story  is,  that  a  Scorpion  surrounded  with  live 
coals,  finding  no  method  of  escaping,  grows  desperate  from 
its  situation,  and  stings  itself  to  death.  This,  though  con- 
sidered a  mere  fable  of  antiquity,  may  still  have  some  truth, 
if  we  believe  the  following  from  the  pen  of  Ulloa :  "We 
more  than  once,"  says  this  traveler,  "entertained  ourselves 
with  an  experiment  of  putting  a  Scorpion  into  a  glass  ves- 
sel, and  injecting  a  little  smoke  of  tobacco,  and  immediately 
by  stopping  it  found  that  its  aversion  to  this  smell  is  such, 
that  it  falls  into  the  most  furious  agitations,  till,  giving  itself 
several  stings  on  the  head,  it  finds  relief  by  destroying 
itself."^  There  is  also  told  a  story  in  the  East  Indies,  that 
"the  Scorpion  is  sometimes  so  pestered  with  the  pismires, 
that  he  stings  himself  to  death  in  the  head  with  his  tail,  and 
so  becomes  a  prey  to  the  pismires."* 

The  Scorpion  was  an  emblem  of  the  Egyptian  goddess 
Selk ;  and  she  is  usually  found  represented  with  this  animal 
bound  upon  her  head.^ 

^lian  mentions  Scorpions  of  Coptos,  which,  though  in- 
flicting a  deadly  sting,  and  dreaded  by  the  people,  so  far  re- 
spected the  Egyptian  goddess  Isis,  who  was  particularly 
worshiped  in  that  city,  that  women,  in  going  to  express 

1  Pinkerton's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  ix.  261. 

2  Ihid.,  vii.  298. 

3  Ihid.,  xiv.  348. 

*  ChurcbiU's  Coll.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  ii.  316. 
^  Wilkinson's  Anct.  Egypt.,  v.  52,  254. 


their  grief  before  her,  walked  with  bare  feet,  or  lay  upon 
the  ground,  without  receiving  any  injury  from  them.^ 

The  Ethiopians  that  dwell  near  the  River  Hydaspis  com- 
monly eat  Scorpions  and  serpents  without  the  slightest  harm, 
"which  certainly  proceeds  from  no  other  thing  than  a  secret 
and  wonderful  constitution  of  the  body  !"  says  Mercurlalis.'^ 

Lutfullah,  the  learned  Mohammedan  gentleman,  in  his 
Autobiography,  relates  the  following : 

"On  the  morning  of  the  11th  (April,  1839),  I  ordered  my 
servant  boy  to  shake  my  bedding  and  put  it  in  the  sun  for 
an  hour  or  so,  that  the  moisture  imbibed  by  the  quilt  might 
be  dried.  As  soon  as  the  quilt  was  removed  from  its  place, 
what  did  I  behold  but  an  immense  Scorpion,  tapering  to- 
wards its  tail  of  nine  vertebra3,  armed  with  a  sting  at  the 
end,  crawling  with  impunity  at  the  edge  of  the  carpet.  I 
had  never  seen  such  a  large  monster  before.  It  was  black 
in  the  body,  with  small  bristles  all  over,  dark  green  in  the 
tail,  and  red  at  the  sting.  This  hideous  sight  rendered  me 
and  the  servant  horror-struck.  In  the  mean  time,  an  Afghan 
friend  of  mine,  by  name  Ata  Moharaed  Khan  Kakar,  a  re- 
spectable resident  of  the  town,  honoured  me  with  a  visit, 
and,  seeing  the  reptile,  observed,  '  Lutfullah,  you  are  a  lucky 
man,  having  made  a  narrow  escape  this  morning.  This  cursed 
worm  is  called  Jerrara,  and  its  fatal  sting  puts  a  period  to 
animal  life  in  a  moment ;  return,  therefore,  your  thanks  to 
the  Lord,  all  merciful,  who  gave  you  a  new  life  in  having 
saved  you  from  the  mortal  sting  of  this  evil  bed-companion 
of  yours.'  'I  have  no  fear  of  the  worm,'  replied  I,  'for  it 
dare  not  sting  me  unless  it  is  written  in  the  book  of  fate  to 
be  stung  by  it.'  Saying  this,  I  made  the  animal  crawl  into 
a  small  earthen  vessel,  and  stopped  the  mouth  of  it  with 
clay ;  and  then  making  a  large  fire,  I  put  the  vessel  therein 
for  an  hour  or  so,  to  turn  the  reptile  into  ashes,  which,  ad- 
ministered in  doses  of  half  a  grain  to  adults,  are  a  specific 
remedy  for  violent  colicky  pains.  "^ 

The  ashes  of  burnt  Scorpions,  besides  being  good  for 
colicky  pains,  as  Lutfullah  says,  were  often  prescribed  by 
the  ancient  physicians  for  stone  in  the  bladder  ;*  and  Topsel, 

i  ^Elian,  xvi.  41,  and  xii.  38.    Wilkinson's  And.  Egypt.,  v.  254. 

2  Wanley's  Wonders,  ii.  459. 

^Autobwff.,  Lond.  1858,  p.  304-5. 

•*  Prescribed  by  Galen,  Pliny,  Lanfrankus,  etc. 


quoting  Kiranides,  has  the  following:  "If  a  raan  take  a 
vulgar  Scorpion  and  drown  the  same  in  a  porringer  of  oyl 
in  the  wane  of  the  moon,  and  therewithal!  afterward  anoynt 
the  back  from  the  shoulders  to  the  hips,  and  also  the  head 
and  forehead,  with  the  tips  of  the  fingers  and  toes  of  one 
that  is  a  demoniack  or  a  lunatick  person,  it  is  reported,  that 
he  shall  ease  and  cure  him  in  short  time.  And  the  like  is 
reported  of  the  Scorpion's  sting  joyned  with  the  top  of  basil 
wherein  is  seed,  and  with  the  heart  of  a  swallow,  all  in- 
cluded in  a  piece  of  harts  skin."^  The  oil  of  Scorpions, 
Brassavolus  says,  "drives  out  worms  miraculously;"  and 
oil  of  Scorpions' and  vipers' "tongues  is  a  most  excellent 
remedy  against  the  plague,  as  Crinitus  testifies,  i.  7."^ 
Galen  prescribes  Scorpions  for  jaundice,  and  Kiranides  the 
same  for  the  several  kinds  of  ague.  "  Plinius  Secundus  saith, 
that  a  quartan  ague,  as  the  magicians  report,  will  be  cured 
in  three  daies  by  a  Scorpion's  Tour  last  joynts  of  his  tail,  to- 
gether with  the  gristle  of  his  ear,  so  wrapped  up  in  a  black 
cloth,  that  the  sick  patient  may  neither  perceive  the  Scor- 
pion that  is  applied,  nor  him  that  bound  it  on  ...  .  Sa- 
monicus  commends  Scorpions  against  pains  in  the  eyes,  in 
these  verses : 

If  I  bat  some  grievous  pain  perplex  thy  sight, 

Wool  wet  in  o}'!  is  good  bound  on  all  night. 

Carry  about  tliee  a  live  Scorpion's  eye, 

Ashes  of  coleworts  if  thou  do  apply, 

With  bruised  fankincense,  goat's  milk,  and  wine, 

One  night  will  prove  this  remedy  divine. "^ 

The  following  Asiatic  fable  of  the  Scorpion  and  the  Tor- 
toise is  from  the  Beharistan  of  Jamy:  A  Scorpion,  armed 
with  pernicious  sting  and  filthy  poison,  undertook  a  journey. 
Coming  to  the  bank  of  a  wide  river,  he  stopped  in  great 
perplexity,  wanting  height  of  leg  to  cross  over,  yet  very  un- 
willing to  return.  A  Tortoise,  seeing  his  situation,  and 
moved  with  compassion,  took  him  on  his  back,  sprang  into 
the  river,  and  was  swimming  toward  the  opposite  shore, 
when  he  heard  a  noise  on  his  shell  as  of  something  striking 
him  ;  he  called  out  to  know  what  it  was ;  the  ungrateful 
Scorpion  answered,  "  It  is  the  motion  of  my  sting  only,  I 

1  Hist,  of  Beasts  and  Serpents,  p.  757. 

2  So  also  Manardus.— Moufet,  p.  210.     Topsel's  Trans.,  p.  1053. 


know  it  cannot  affect  you,  but  it  is  a  habit  which  I  cannot 
relinquish."  "  Indeed,"  replied  the  Tortoise,  "  then  I  cannot 
do  better  than  free  so  evil-minded  a  creature  from  his  bad 
disposition,  and  secure  the  good  from  his  malevolence." 
Saying  which  he  dived  under  the  water,  and  the  waves  soon 
carried  the  Scorpion  beyond  the  bourn  of  existence. 

When,  in  this  banquet  house  of  vice  and  strife, 
A  knave  oft  strikes  the  various  stings  of  fraud, 
'Tis  best  the  sea  of  death  ingulf  him  soon, 
That  he  be  freed  from  man,  and  man  from  him.^ 

Topsel,  in  his  History  of  Four-footed  Beasts  and  Serpents, 
has  the  following  in  his  chapter  on  the  Scorpion  : 

"  There  is  a  common  adage.  Comix  Scorpium,  a  Haven 
to  a  Scorpion,  and  it  is  used  against  them  that  perish  by 
their  own  inventions:  when  they  set  upon  others,  they  meet 
with  their  matches,  as  a  raven  did  when  it  preyed  upon  a 
Scorpion,  thus  described  by  Alciatus,  under  his  title  Justa 
ultio,  just  revenge,  saying  as  followeth  : 

Raptabat  volucer  captum  pede  corvus  in  auras 

Scorpion,  audaci  prgemia  part  a  gulae. 
Ast  ille  infuso  sensim  per  membra  venemo, 

Raptorem  in  stygias  compulit  ultor  aquas. 
0  risu  res  digna  !   aliis  qui  fata  parabat, 

Ipse  periit,  propriis  succubuitque  dolis. 

Which  may  be  Englished  thus  : 

The  ravening  crow  for  prey  a  Scorpion  took 
Within  her  foot,  and  therewithal  aloft  did  flie. 

But  he  empoysoned  her  by  force  and  stinging  stroke, 
So  ravener  in  the  Stygian  Lake  did  die. 

0  sportfuU  game  !  that  he  which  other  for  bellyes  sake  did  kill, 

By  his  own  deceit  should  fall  into  death's  will. 

"There  be  some  learned  writers,  who  have  compared  a 
Scorpion  to  an  epigram,  or  rather  an  epigram  to  a  Scor- 
pion, because  as  the  sting  of  the  Scorpion  lyeth  in  the 
tayl,  so  the  force  and  vertue  of  an  epigram  is  in  the  conclu- 
sion, for  vel  acriter  salse  nior^deal,  vel  jucunde  atque  did' 
citer  delectet,  that  is,  either  let  it  bite  sharply  at  the  end, 
or  else  delight  pleasingly."^ 

1  Asiatic  Miscellany,  ii.  451, 

2  Topsel's  lli&t.  of  Beasts  and  Serpents,  p.  755-6. 


Araneidae — True  Spiders. 

A  little  head  and  body  small, 
AVitli  slendei'  feet  and  very  tall, 
Belly  gi'cat,  and  from  thence  come  all 
The  webs  it  spins. — Moufet.i 

"Domitian  sometime,"  says  Hollingshed  incidentally  in 
his  Chronicles  of  England,  "  and  an  other  prince  yet  living, 
delited  so  much  to  see  the  iollie  combats  betwixt  a  stout 

Flie  and  an  old  Spider Some  parasites  also  in  the 

time  of  the  aforesaid  emperour  (when  they  were  disposed 
to  laugh  at  his  follie,  and  yet  would  seem  in  appearance  to 
gratifie  his  fantasticall  head  with  some  shew  of  dutiful  de- 
menour)  could  devise  to  set  tiieir  lorde  on  worke,  by  letting 
a  fresh  flie  privilie  into  his  chamber,  which  he  foorthwith 
would  egerlie  have  hunted  (all  other  businesse  set  apart) 
and  never  ceased  till  he  had  caught  him  in  his  fingers: 
whereupon  arose  the  proverbe  '  ne  musca  quidem,' altered 
first  by  Yitius  Priscus,  who  being  asked  whether  anie  bodie 
was  with  Domitian,  answered  '  ne  musca  quidem,'  whereby 
he  noted  his  follie.  There  are  some  cockes  combs  here 
and  there  in  England,  learning  it  abroad  as  men  transre- 
gionate,  which  make  account  also  of  this  pastime,  as  of  a 
notable  matter,  telling  what  a  fight  is  seene  betweene  them, 
if  either  of  them  be  lustie  and  couragious  in  his  kind.  One 
also  hath  mad  a  booke  of  the  Spider  and  the  Flie,  wherein 
he  dealeth  so  profoundlie,  and  beyond  all  measure  of  skill, 
that  neither  he  himself  that  made  it,  neither  anie  one  that 
readeth  it  can  reach  unto  the  meaning  thereof"^ 

Chapelain,  the  author  of  Pucelle,  was  called  by  the  acade- 
micians the  Knight  of  the  Order  of  the  Spider,  because  he 
was  so  avaricious,  that  though  he  had  an  income  of  13,000 
livres,  and  more  than  240,000  in  ready  money,  he  wore  an  old 
coat  so  patched,  pieced,  and  threadbare,  that  the  stitches  ex- 
hibited no  bad  resemblance  to  the  fibers  produced  by  that 
insect.  Being  one  day  present  at  a  large  party  given  by 
the  great  Conde,  a  Spider  of  uncommon  size  fell  from  the 
ceiling  upon  the  floor.     The  company  thought  it  could  not 

iTopsel's  Trans. — Hist,  of  Beasts  and  Serpents,  p.  1058. 
2  Chronicles,  i.  385. 


have  come  from  the  roof,  and  all  the  ladies  at  once  agreed 
that  it  must  have  proceeded  from  Chapelain's  wig  ; — the 
wig  so  celebrated  bj  the  well-known  part)dy.^ 

The  often-told  anecdote  of  the  Scottish  monarch,  Robert 
Bruce,  and  the  cottage  Spider,  is  thus  related  in  Chambers' 
Miscellany  :  While  wandering  on  the  wild  hills  of  Carrick, 
in  order  to  escape  the  emissaries  of  Edward,  Robert  the 
Bruce  on  one  occasion  passed  the  night  under  the  shelter  of 
a  poor  deserted  cottage.  Throwing  himself  down  on  a 
heap  of  straw,  he  lay  upon  his  back,  with  his  hands  placed 
under  his  head,  unable  to  sleep,  but  gazing  vacantly  upward 
at  the  rafters  of  the  hut,  disfigured  with  cobwebs.  From 
thoughts  long  and  dreary  about  the  hopelessness  of  the  en- 
terprise in  which  he  was  engaged,  and  the  misfortunes  he 
had  already  encountered,  he  was  roused  to  take  interest  in 
the  efforts  of  a  poor  industrious  Spider,  which  had  begun  to 
ply  its  vocation  with  the  first  gray  light  of  morning.  The 
object  of  the  animal  was  to  swing  itself,  by  its  thread,  from 
one  rafter  to  another;  but  in  the  attempt  it  repeatedly 
failed,  each  time  vibrating  back  to  the  point  whence  it  had 
made  the  effort.  Twelve  times  did  the  little  creature  try  to 
reach  the  desired  spot,  and  as  many  times  was  it  unsuccess- 
ful. Not  disheartened  with  its  failure,  it  made  the  attempt 
once  more,  and,  lo  !  the  rafter  was  gained.  "  The  thirteenth 
time,"  said  Bruce,  springing  to  his  feet;  "  I  accept  it  as  a 
lesson  not  to  despond  under  difficulties,  and  shall  once  more 
venture  my  life  in  the  struggle  for  the  independence  of  my 
beloved  country."     The  result  is  well  known. ^ 

It  is  related  in  the  life  of  Mohammed,  that  when  he  and 
Abubeker  were  fleeing  for  their  lives  before  the  Coreishites, 
they  hid  themselves  for  three  days  in  a  cave,  over  the  mouth 
of  which  a  Spider  spread  its  web,  and  a  pigeon  laid  two 
eggs  there,  the  sight  of  which  made  the  pursuers  not  go  in 
to  search  for  them.^ 

A  similar  story  is  told  in  the  Lives  of  the  Saints,  of  St. 
Felix  of  Nola :  "But  the  Saint,"  says  Butler,  "in  the  mean 
time  had  slept  a  little  out  of  the  way,  and  crept  through  a 

1  Keddie's  Cyclop,  of  Anecd.,  p.  288. 

2  Chamb.  Misc.,  vol.  xi.  No.  100.     Compare  this  story  with  that  of 
Timour  and  the  Ant. 

3  Ockley's  Hist,  of  the  Saracens,  i.  36. 



hole  in  a  ruinous  old  wall,  which  was  instantly  closed  up 
by  Spiders'  webs.  His  enemies,  never  imagining  anything 
could  have  lately  passed  where  they  saw  so  close  a  Spider's 
web,  after  a  fruitless  search  elsewhere,  returned  in  the  even- 
ing without  their  prey.  Felix  finding  among  the  ruins, 
between  two  houses,  an  old  well  half  dry,  hid  himself  in  it 
for  six  months;  and  received  daring  that  time  wherewithal 
to  subsist  by  means  of  a  devout  Christian  woman. "^ 

It  is  said  of  Heliogabalus,  that,  for  the  purpose  of  esti- 
mating the  magnitude  of  the  City  of  Rome,  he  commanded 
a  collection  of  Spiders  to  be  made.^ 

Illustrative  of  the  singularly  pleasurable  effect  of  music 
upon  Spiders,  in  the  Historic  de  la  Musique,  et  de  ses 
Effets,  we  find  the  following  relation  : 

"  Monsieur  de  ,  captain  of  the  Regiment  of  Na- 
varre, was  confined  six  months  in  prison  for  having  spoken 
too  freely  of  M.  de  Louvois,  when  he  begged  leave  of  tiie  gov- 
ernor to  grant  him  permission  to  send  for  his  lute  to  soften 
his  confinement.  He  was  greatly  astonished  after  four  days 
to  see  at  the  time  of  his  playing  the  mice  come  out  of  their 
holes,  and  the  Spiders  descend  from  their  webs,  who  came 
and  formed  in  a  circle  round  him  to  hear  him  with  attention. 
This  at  first  so  much  surprised  him,  that  he  stood  still  with- 
out motion,  when  having  ceased  to  play,  all  those  Spiders 
retired  quietly  into  their  lodgings;  such  an  assembly  made 
the  oSicer  fall  into  reflections  upon  what  the  ancients  had 
told  of  Orpheus,  Arion,  and  Amphion.  He  assured  me 
he  remained  six  days  without  again  playing,  having  with 
difficulty  recovered  from  his  astonishment,  not  to  mention  a 
natural  aversion  he  had  for  this  sort  of  insects,  nevertheless 
he  began  afresh  to  give  a  concert  to  these  animals,  who 
seemed  to  come  every  day  in  greater  numbers,  as  if  they  had 
invited  others,  so  that  in  process  of  time  he  found  a  hun- 
dred of  them  about  him.  In  order  to  rid  himself  of  them  he 
desired  one  of  the  jailors  to  give  him  a  cat,  which  he  some- 
times shut  up  in  a  cage  when  he  wished  to  have  tliis  com- 
pany and  let  her  loose  when  he  had  a  mind  to  dismiss  them, 
making  it  thus  a  kind  of  comedy  that  alleviated  his  impris- 
onment. I  long  doubted  the  truth  of  this  story,  but  it  was 
confirmed  to  me  six  months  ago  by  M.  P ,  intendant 

*  Z/i'ye.s'  of  the.  Saints,  i   177-8.     Cf.  Wanlcy's  Wun.Iers,  ii.  402. 
^  Bucke  on  Nature,  ii.  liK>. 


of  the  duchy  of  Y ,  a  man  of  merit   and   probity, 

who  played  upon  several  instruments  to  the  utmost  excel- 
lence.    He  told  me  that  being  at ,  he  went  into  his 

chamber  to  refresh  himself  after  a  walk,  and  took  up  a 
violin  to  amuse  himself  till  supper  time,  setting  a  light  upon 
the  table  before  him  ;  he  had  not  played  a  quarter  of  an  hour 
before  he  saw  several  spiders  descend  from  the  ceiling,  who 
came  and  ranged  themselves  round  about  the  table  to  hear 
him  play,  at  which  he  was  greatly  surprised,  but  this  did  not 
interrupt  him,  being  willing  to  see  the  end  of  so  singular  an 
occurrence.  They  remained  on  the  table  very  attentively 
till  somebody  came  to  tell  him  that  supper  was  ready,  when 
having  ceased  to  play,  he  told  me  these  insects  remounted  to 
their  webs,  to  which  he  would  suffer  no  injury  to  be  done. 
It  was  a  diversion  with  which  he  often  entertained  himself 
out  of  curiosity,"^ 

The  Abbe  Olivet  has  described  an  amusement  of  Pelisson 
during  his  confinement  in  the  Bastile  for  refusing  to  betray 
to  the  government  certain  secrets  intrusted  to  him  by  a 
friend  who  was  a  leading  politician  at  the  court  of  Louis 
XI Y.,  which  consisted  in  feeding  a  Spider,  which  he  dis- 
covered forming  its  web  across  the  only  air-hole  of  his  cell. 
For  some  time  he  placed  his  flies  at  the  edge  of  the  window, 
while  a  stupid  Basque,  his  sole  companion,  played  on  a 
bagpipe.  Little  by  little  the  Spider  used  itself  to  distin- 
guish the  sound  of  the  instrument,  and  issued  from  its  hole 
to  run  and  catch  its  prey.  Thus  calling  it  always  by  the 
same  sound,  and  placing  the  flies  at  a  still  greater  distance, 
he  succeeded,  after  several  months,  to  drill  the  Spider  by 
regular  exercise,  so  that  at  length  it  never  failed  appearing 
at  the  first  sound  to  seize  on  the  fly  provided  for  it,  at  the 
extremity  of  the  cell,  and  even  on  the  knees  of  the  pris- 

1  Hist,  de  la  Mus.,  i.  321,     Hawkins'  Hist,  of  3fusic,  iii.  117,  note, 

2  Biogr.  Univers.,  tome  xxxiii.     See  also  Arvine's  Anecdotes,  p.  402, 
To  this  account,  in  the  Hist,  of  Insects  printed  by  John  Murray, 

1830,  i,  269,  is  added:  "The  governor  of  the  Bastile  hearing  that 
this  unfortunate  prisoner  had  found  a  solace  in  the  society  of  a 
Spider,  paid  Pelisson  a  visit,  desiring  to  see  the  manoeuvres  of  the 
insect.  The  Basque  struck  up  his  notes,  the  Spider  instantly  came 
to  be  fed  by  his  friend;  but  the  moment  it  appeared  on  the  floor  of 
the  cell,  the  governor  placed  his  foot  on  its  body,  and  crushed  jt  to 


At  a  ladies'  school  at  Kensington,  England,  an  immense 
species  of  Spider  is  said  to  be  uncomfortably  common ;  and 
that  when  the  young  ladies  sing  their  accustomed  hymn  or 
psalm  before  morning  and  evening  prayers,  these  Spiders 
make  their  appearance  on  the  floor,  or  suspended  overhead 
from  their  webs  in  the  ceiling,  obviously  attracted  by  the 
"concord  of  sweet  sounds."^ 

The  following  lines  "to  a  Spider  which  inhabited  a  cell," 
are  from  the  Anthologia  Borealis  et  Australis  : 

In  this  wild,  groping,  dark,  and  drearie  cove, 

Of  wife,  of  children,  and  of  health  bereft, 
I  hailed  thee,  friendly  Spider,  who  hadst  wove 

Thy  mazy  net  on  yonder  mouldering  raft : 
Would  that  the  cleanlie  housemaid's  foot  had  left 

Thee  tarrying  here,  nor  took  thy  life  awaj^; 
For  thou,  from  out  this  seare  old  ceiling's  cleft, 

Came  down  each  morn  to  hede  my  plaintive  lay; 
Joying  like  me  to  heare  sweete  musick  play, 
Wherewith  I'd  fein  beguile  the  dull,  dark,  lingering  day. 2 

"When  the  great  and  brilliant  Lauzun  was  held  in  cap- 
tivity, his  only  joy  and  comfort  was  a  friendly  Spider :  she 
came  at  his  call ;  she  took  her  food  from  his  finger,  and  well 
understood  his  word  of  command.  In  vain  did  jailors  and 
soldiers  try  to  deceive  his  tiny  companion ;  she  would  not 
obey  their  voices,  and  refused  the  tempting  bait  from  their 
hand.  Here,  then,  was  not  only  an  ear,  but  a  keen  power 
of  distinction.  The  despised  little  animal  listened  with 
sweet  affection,  and  knew  how  to  discriminate  between  not 
unsimilar  tones. "^ 

Quatremer  Disjonval,  a  Frenchman  by  birth,  was  an  ad- 
jutant-general in  Holland,  and  took  an  active  part  on  the 
side  of  the  Dutch  patriots  when  they  revolted  against  the 
Stadtholder.  On  the  arrival  of  the  Prussian  army  under 
the  Duke  of  Brunswick,  he  was  immediately  taken,  tried, 
and,  having  been  condemned  to  twenty-five  years'  imprison- 
ment, was  incarcerated  in  a  dungeon  at  Utrecht,  where  he 
remained  eight  years.  During  this  long  confinement,  by 
many  curious  observations  upon  his  sole  companions,  Spi- 
ders, he  discovered  that  they  were  in  the  highest  degree 

1  The  Mirror,  xxvii.  69. 

2  Hone's  Ev.  Day  Book,  i    334. 

3  Stray  Leaves  from  the  Book  of  Nature. 


sensitive  of  approaching;  changes  in  the  atmosphere,  and 
that  their  retirement  and  reappearance,  their  weaving  and 
general  habits,  were  intimately  connected  with  the  changes 
of  the  weather.  In  the  reading  of  these  living  barometers 
he  became  wonderfully  accurate,  so  much  so,  that  he  could 
prognosticate  the  approach  of  severe  weather  from  ten  to 
fourteen  days  before  it  set  in,  which  is  proven  by  the  follow- 
ing remarkable  fact,  which  led  to  his  release:  "When  the 
troops  of  the  French  republic  overran  Holland  in  the  win- 
ter of  1794,  and  kept  pushing  forward  over  the  ice,  a  sud- 
den and  unexpected  thaw,  in  the  early  part  of  December, 
threatened  the  destruction  of  the  whole  army  unless  it  was 
instantly  withdrawn.  The  French  generals  were  thinking 
seriously  of  accepting  a  sum  offered  by  the  Dutch,  and  with- 
drawing their  troops,  when  Disjonval,  who  hoped  that  the 
success  of  the  republican  army  might  lead  to  his  release, 
used  every  exertion,  and  at  length  succeeded  in  getting  a 
letter  conveyed  to  the  French  general  in  1*795,  in  which  he 
pledged  himself,  from  the  peculiar  actions  of  the  Spiders, 
of  whose  movements  he  was  enabled  to  judge  with  perfect 
accuracy,  that  within  fourteen  days  there  would  commence 
a  most  severe  frost,  which  would  make  the  French  masters 
of  all  the  rivers,  and  afford  them  sufficient  time  to  complete 
and  make  sure  of  the  conquest  they  had  commenced,  be- 
''fore  it  should  be  followed  by  a  thaw.  The  commander  of 
the  French  forces  believed  his  prognostication,  and  perse- 
vered. The  cold  weather,  which  Disjonval  had  predicted, 
made  its  appearance  in  twelve  days,  and  with  such  inten- 
sity, that  the  ice  over  the  rivers  and  canals  became  capable 
of  bearing  the  heaviest  artillery.  On  the  28th  of  January,- 
lt95,  the  French  army  entered  Utrecht  in  triumph;  and 
Quatremer  Disjonval,  who  had  watched  the  habits  of  his 
Spiders  with  so  much  intelligence  and  success,  was,  as  a 
reward  for  his  ingenuity,  released  from  prison."^ 

In  Bartholom^eus,  De  Proprietatibus  Rerum  (printed  bv 
Th.  Berthelet,  2tth  Henry  YIIL),  lib.  xviii.  fol.  814,  speak- 
ing of  Pliny,  we  read :  "Also  he  saythe,  spynners  (Spiders) 
ben  tokens  of  divynation  and  of  knowing  what  wether  shal 
fal,  for  oft  by  weders  that  shal  fal,  some  spin  and  weve 

Quart.  Rev.  for  Jan.  1844. 


higher  or  lower.  Also  he  saythe,  that  multytude  of  spyn- 
ners  is  token  of  moche  reyne."^ 

Willsford,  in  his  Nature's  Secrets,  p.  131,  tells  us:  ''Spi- 
ders creep  out  of  their  holes  and  narrow  receptacles  against 
wind  or  rain;  Minerva  having  made  them  sensible  of  an 
approaching  storm."- 

Hone,  in  his  Every  Day  Book,  also  mentions  that  from 
Spiders  prognostications  as  to  the  weather  may  be  drawn, 
and  gives  the  following  instructions  to  read  this  animal- 
barometer  :  "  If  the  weather  is  likely  to  become  rainy, 
windy,  or  in  other  respects  disagreeable,  they  fix  the  term- 
inating filaments,  on  which  the  whole  web  is  suspended, 
unusually  short;  and  in  this  state  they  await  the  influence 
of  a  temperature  which  is  remarkably  variable.  On  the 
contrary,  if  the  terminating  filaments  are  uncommonly  long, 
we  may,  in  proportion  to  their  length,  conclude  that  the 
weather  will  be  serene,  and  continue  so  at  least  for  ten  or 
twelve  da3^s.  But  if  the  Spiders  be  totally  indolent,  rain 
generally  succeeds;  though,  on  the  other  hand,  their  activity 
during  rain  is  the  most  certain  proof  that  it  will  be  only  of 
short  duration,  and  followed  with  fair  and  constant  weather. 
According  to  farther  observations,  the  Spiders  regularly 
make  some  alterations  in  their  webs  or  nets  every  twenty- 
four  hours;  if  these  changes  take  place  between  the  hours 
of  six  and  seven  in  the  evening,  they  indicate  a  clear  and 
pleasant  night.'" 

Pausanias  tells  us  that  after  the  slaughter  at  Chseronea, 
the  Thebans  were  obliged  to  place  a  guard  within  the  walls 
of  their  city;  bat  which,  however,  after  the  death  of  Philip, 
and  during  the  reign  of  Alexander,  they  drove  out.  For 
this  action,  this  historian  continues,  it  was  that  Divinity 
gave  them  tokens  in  the  webs  of  Spiders  of  the  destraction 
that  awaited  them.  For,  during  the  battle  at  Leuctra,  the 
Spiders  in  the  temple  of  Ceres  Thesmophoros  wove  white 

1  This  passage  from  Pliny  is  thus  translated  by  Bostock  and 
Riley  :  "Presages  are  also  drawn  from  the  Spider,  for  when  a  river 
is  about  to  swell,  it  will  suspend  its  web  higher  than  usual.  In 
calm  weather  these  insects  do  not  spin,  but  when  it  is  cloudy  they 
do,  and  hence  it  is,  that  a  great  number  of  cobwebs  is  a  sure  sign 
of  showery  weather." — Nat.  Hist.,  xi.  2-1  (28).     Trans.,  iii.  28. 

2  Brando's  Pop.  Antiq.,  iii.  223. 

3  IJv.  Day  Bk.,  i.  931.  Quot.  also  in  Chamb.  Journ.,  1st  Sei\, 
vi.  95. 


webs  about  the  doors ;  but  when  Alexander  and  the  Mace- 
donians attacked  their  dominions,  their  webs  were  found  to 
be  black.  ^ 

It  was  thought  by  the  Classical  Ancients  and  the  old 
English  unlucky  to  kill  Spiders ;  and  prognostications  were 
made  from  their  manner  of  weaving  their  webs.^  It  is  still 
thought  unlucky  to  injure  these  animals. 

Park  has  the  following  note  in  his  copy  of  Bourne  and 
Brande's  Popular  Antiquities,  p.  93 :  "  Small  Spiders,  termed 
money-spinners,  are  held  by  many  to  prognosticate  good 
luck,  if  they  are  not  destroyed  or  injured,  or  removed  from 
the  person  on  whom  they  are  first  observed." 

In  Teviotdale,  Scotland,  "when  Spiders  creep  on  one's 
clothes,  it  is  viewed  as  betokening  good  luck  ;  and  to  destroy 
them  is  equivalent  to  throwing  stones  at  one's  own  head."^ 

In  Maryland,  this  superstition  is  thus  expressed:  If  jou 
kill  a  Spider  upon  your  clothing,  you  destroy  the  presents 
they  are  then  weaving  for  you. 

In  the  Secret  Memoirs  of  Mr.  Duncan  Campbell,  p.  60, 
in  the  chapter  of  omens,  we  read  that  "  others  have  thought 
themselves  secure  of  receiving  money,  if  by  chance  a  little 
Spider  fell  upon  their  clothes."* 

"  When  a  Spider  is  found  upon  your  clothes,  or  about 
your  person,"  says  a  writer  in  the  Notes  and  Queries,^  "it 
signifies  that  you  will  shortly  receive  some  money.  Old 
Fuller,  who  was  a  native  of  Northamptonshire,  thus  quaintly 
moralizes  this  superstition  :  *  When  a  Spider  is  found  upon 
your  clothes,  we  used  to  say  some  money  is  coming  toward 
us.  The  moral  is  this  :  such  who  imitate  the  industry  of 
that  contemptible  creature  may,  by  God's  blessing,  weave 
themselves  into  wealth  and  procure  a  plentiful  estate.'  "^ 

A  South  Northamptonshire  superstition  of  the  present 
day  is,  that,  in  order  to  propitiate  money-spinners,  they 
must  be  thrown  over  the  left  shoulder.^ 

It  is  most  probable  that  Euclio,  in  Plautus'  Aulularia, 

1  Pans.  Hist,  of  Greece,  B.  9,  c.  6. 

2  Fosbr.  Enc.ycl.  of  Aiitiq. 

3  Jamieson's  Scottish  Diet. 

*  Brande's  Fop.  Antiq.,  ill.  223. 
6N    and  Q.,  iii.  3. 
«  Worthies,  p.  58.  Pt.  II.  Ed.  1662. 
T  N.  and  Q.,  ii.  165. 


would  not  suffer  the  Spiders  to  be  molested  because  they 
were  considered  to  bring  good  luck. 

Staphyla.  Here  in  our  house  there's  nothing  else  for  thieves  to 
gain,  so  filled  is  it  with  emptiness  and  cobwebs. 

EucUo.  You  hag  of  hags,  I  choose  those  cobwebs  to  be  watched 
for  me^ 

A  superstition  prevails  among  us  that  if  a  Spider  ap- 
proaches, either  by  crawling  toward  or  descending  from 
the  ceiling  to  a  person,  it  forebodes  good  to  such  person ; 
and,  on  the  contrary,  if  the  Spider  runs  hurriedly  away,  it 
is  an  omen  of  bad  luck.  But  if  the  Spider  be  a  poisonous 
one,  or  a  Fly-catcher,  and  it  approaches  you,  some  evil  is 
about  to  befall  you,  which  to  avert  you  must  cross  your 
heart  thrice. 

If  you  kill  a  Spider  crossing  your  path,  you  will  have 
bad  luck. 

A  Spider  should  not  be  killed  in  your  house,  but  out  of 
doors  ;  if  in  the  house,  our  country  people  say  you  are 
"  pulling  down  your  house." 

If  a  Spider  drops  down  from  its  web  or  from  a  tree  di- 
rectly in  front  of  a  person,  such  person  will  see  before  night 
a  dear  friend. 

A  variety  of  this  superstition  is,  that,  if  the  Spider  be 
white,  it  foretells  the  acquaintance  of  a  friend  ;  and  if  black, 
an  enemy. 

In  the  Netherlands,  a  Spider  seen  in  the  morning  fore- 
bodes good  luck  ;   in  the  afternoon,  bad  luck,'^ 

There  is  a  common  saying  at  Winchester,  England,  that 
no  Spider  will  hang  its  web  on  the  roof  of  Irish  oak  in  the 
chapel  or  cloisters;'^  and  the  cicerone,  who  shows  the  cathe- 
dral church  at  St.  David's,  points  out  to  the  visitor  that  the 
choir  is  roofed  with  Irish  oak,  which  does  not  harbor  Spiders, 
though  cobwebs  are  plentifully  seen  in  other  parts  of  the 
cathedral.*  This  superstition  (for  it  certainly  is  nothing 
more)^  probably  originated  with  the  old  story  of  St.  Pat- 
rick's having  exorcised  and  banished  all  kinds  of  vermin 
from  Ireland. 

The  same  virtue  of  repelling  Spiders  is  attributed  also  to 

1  AuluL,  A.  i.  Sc.  3. 

»  Thorpe's  North.  Antiq.,  iii.  329. 

»  N.  and  Q.,  2d  ed.  iv.  298.  *  Ibid.,  iv. 

^  Gent.  Mag.,  June,  1771,  xli.  251. 



chestnut  and  cedar  wood  ;^  and  the  old  roof  at  Turner's 
Court,  in  Gloucestershire,  four  miles  from  Bath,  which  is  of 
chestnut,  is  said  to  be  perfectly  free  from  cobwebs;-  hence 
also  are  the  cloisters  of  New  College,  and  of  Christ's 
Church,  in  England,  roofed  with  chestnut.^ 

A  small  Spider  of  a  red  color,  called  a  Tainct  in  Eng- 
land, is  accounted,  by  the  country  people,  a  deadly  poison 
to  cows  and  horses ;  so  when  any  of  their  cattle  die  sud- 
denly and  swell  up,  to  account  for  their  deaths,  they  say 
they  have  "licked  a  Tainct."  Browne  thinks  this  is,  most 
probably,  but  a  vulgar  error.'* 

It  is  a  very  ancient  and  curious  belief  that  there  exists 
a  remarkable  enmity  between  the  Spider  and  serpents,^  and 
more  especially  between  the  Spider  and  the  toad  ;  and  many 
curious  stories  are  told  of  the  combats  between  these  ani- 
mals. The  following,  related  by  Erasmus,  which  he  asserts 
he  had  directly  from  one  of  the  spectators,  is  probably  the 
most  remarkable,  and  we  insert  it  in  the  words  of  Dr.  James  : 
"A  person  (a  monk)*^  lying  along  upon  the  floor  of  his 
chamber  in  the  summer-time  to  sleep  in  a  supine  posture, 
when  a  toad,  creeping  out  of  some  green  rushes,  brought 
just  before  in  to  adorn  the  chimney,  gets  upon  his  face  and 
with  his  feet  sits  across  his  lips.  To  force  otf  the  toad,  says 
the  historian,  would  have  been  accounted  death  to  the 
sleeper;  and  to  leave  her  there,  very  cruel  and  dangerous; 
so  that  upon  consultation,  it  was  concluded  to  find  out  a  Spi- 
der, which,  together  with  her  web  and  the  window  she  was 
fastened  to,  was  brought  carefully,  and  so  contrived  as  to  be 
held  perpendicularly  to  the  man's  face;  which  was  no  sooner 
done  but  the  Spider,  discovering  his  enemy,  let  himself  down 
and  struck  in  his  dart,  afterward  betaking  himself  up  again 
to  his  web :  the  toad  swelled,  but  as  yet  kept  his  station. 

1  N.  and  Q.,  2d  ed.  iv.  5-23.      2  /^^^v/.,  iv.  421.      3  Ibid.,  iv.  298. 
^  Vulg.  Err.,  B.  iii.  c.  277.      Works,  ii,  527. 

5  Pliny  says  the  Spider,  poised  in  its  web,  will  throw  itself  upon 
the  head  of  a  serpent  as  it  lies  stretched  beneath  the  shade  of  the 
tree  where  it  has  built,  and  with  its  bite  pierce  its  brain  ;  such  is  the 
shock,  he  continues,  that  the  creature  will  hiss  from  time  to  time, 
and  then,  seized  with  vertigo,  coil  round  and  round,  while  it  iinds 
itself  unable  to  take  to  flight,  or  so  much  as  to  break  the  \Veb  of  the 
Spider,  as  it  hangs  suspended  above;  this  scene,  he  concludes,  only 
ends  with  its  death. — Nat.  Ilist.,  x.  95. 

6  Browne's  Works,  ii.  524,  note. 



The  second  wound  is  given  quickly  after  by  the  Spider, 
upon  which  he  swells  yet  more,  but  remained  alive  still, 
Tlie  Spider,  coming  down  again  by  his  thread,  gives  the 
third  blow,  and  the  toad,  taking  off  his  feet  from  over  the 
man's  mouth,  fell  off  dead."^ 

The  following  cosmogony  is  found  in  the  sacred  writings 
of  the  Pundits  of  India:  A  certain  immense  Spider  was  the 
origin,  the  first  cause  of  all  things;  which,  drawing  the  mat- 
ter from  its  own  bowels,  wove  the  web  of  tliis  universe,  and 
disposed  it  with  wonderful  art;  she,  in  the  mean  time,  sitting 
in  the  center  of  her  work,  feels  and  directs  the  motion  of 
every  part,  till  at  length,  when  she  has  pleased  herself  suffi- 
ciently in  ordering  and  contemplating  this  web,  she  draws 
all  the  threads  she  had  spun  out  again  into  herself;  and, 
having  absorbed  them,  the  universal  nature  of  all  creatures 
vanishes  into  nothing.^ 

Among  the  Chululahs  of  our  western  coast,  Capt.  Stuart 
informs  me  there  is  a  vague  superstition  that  the  Spider  is 
connected  with  the  origin  of  the  world.  To  what  extent 
this  curious  notion  prevails,  or  anything  more  concerning  it, 
I  have  been  unable  to  learn. 

The  natives  of  Guinea,  says  Bosman,  believe  that  the  first 
men  were  created  by  the  large  black  Spider,  which  is  so  com- 
mon in  their  country,  and  called  in  their  jargon  "Ananse;" 
nor  is  there  any  reasoning,  continues  this  traveler,  a  great 
number  of  them  out  of  it.^  Barbot  also  remarks  that,  in  the 
belief  of  the  G  uinea  negroes,  the  black  Ananse  created  the 
first  man.* 

That  the  Spider  should  be  connected  with  the  origin  of  the 
world  and  man  in  the  several  beliefs  of  the  Hindoos,  Chu- 
lulahs, and  negroes,  races  so  widely  different  and  separated 
from  one  another,  is  a  coincidence  most  remarkable, 

A  large  and  hideous  species  of  Spider,  said  to  be  only 
found  in  the  palace  of  Hampton  Court,  England,  is  known 
by  the  name  of  the  "  Cardinals."  This  name  has  been  given 
them  from  a  superstitious  belief  that  the  spirits  of  Car- 

1  Med.  Diet.,  sub  Araneus. 

2  Univers.  Hist.,  i.  48,  also  Gent.  Mag.,  xli.  400. 

'  Trav.,  p.  322,  and  Astley's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  ii.  726.  Bos- 
man says  this  "  was  the  greatest  piece  of  ignorance  and  stupidity  he 
observed  in  the  negroes," 

*  Churchill's  Col.  of  V.  and  T.,  v.  222. 


diaal  Wolsey  and  his  retinue  still  haunt  the  palace  in  their 
shape. ^ 

In  running  across  the  carpet  in  an  evening,  with  the 
shade  cast  from  their  large  bodies  by  the  light  of  the  lamp 
or  candle,  these  "  Cardinals"  have  been  mistaken  for  mice, 
and  have  occasioned  no  little  alarm  to  some  of  the  more 
nervous  inhabitants  of  the  palace.'^ 

The  story  of  the  gigantic  Spider  found  in  the  Church  of 
St.  Eustace,  at  Paris,  in  Chambers'  Miscellany,  is  related  as 
follows :  It  is  told  that  the  sexton  of  this  church  was  sur- 
prised at  very  often  discovering  a  certain  lamp  extinguished 
in  the  morning,  notwithstanding  it  had  been  duly  replenished 
with  oil  the  preceding  evening.  Curious  to  learn  the  cause 
of  this  mysterious  circumstance,  he  kept  watch  several  even- 
ings, and  was  at  last  gratified  by  the  discovery.  During  the 
night  he  observed  a  Spider,  of  enormous  dimensions,  come 
down  the  chain  by  which  the  lamp  was  suspended,  drink  up 
the  oil,  and,  when  gorged  to  satiety,  slowly  retrace  its  steps 
to  a  recess  in  the  fretwork  above.  A  similar  Spider  is  said 
to  have  been  found,  in  1751,  in  the  cathedral  church  of  Mi- 
lan. It  was  observed  to  feed  also  on  oil.  When  killed,  it 
weighed  four  pounds  !  and  was  afterward  sent  to  the  impe- 
rial museum  at  Vienna.^ 

The  following  remarkable  anecdote  is  translated  from  the 
French  :  "  M.  F de  Saint  Omer  laid  on  the  chimney- 
piece  of  his  chamber,  one  evening  on  going  to  bed,  a  small 
shirt-pin  of  gold,  the  head  of  which  represented  a  fly.     Next 

day,  M.  F would  have  taken  his  pin  from  the  place 

where  he  had  put  it,  but  the  trinket  had  disappeared.      A 

servant-maid,  who  had  only  been  in   M.  F 's  service  a 

few  days,  was  solely  suspected  of  having  carried  off  the  pin, 

and  sent  away.     But,  at  length,  M.  F 's  sister,  putting  up 

some  curtains,  was  very  much  surprised  to  find  the  lost  pin 
suspended  from  the  ceiling  in  a  Spider's  web  I  And  thus 
was  the  disappearance  of  the  bijou  explained  :  A  Spider, 
deceived  by  the  figure  of  the  fly  which  the  pin  presented,  had 
drawn  it  into  his  web."* 

In  the  Treasvrie  of  Avncient  and   Moderne  Times,  it  is 

1  iV.  and  Q.,  vii.  431. 

2  Chamb   Misc.,  vol.  xi.  No,  100.  3  Ji^id, 
*  The  Mirror,  xxvii.  69. 


stated  that  "Spiders  do  shun  all  such  wals  as  run  to  mine, 
or  are  like  to  be  ouerthrowne."  ^ 

A  Spider  hanging  from  a  tree  is  said  to  have  made  both 
Turenne  and  Gnstavus  Adolphus  shudder!  ^ 

M.  Zimmerman  relates  the  following  instance  of  antipathy 
to  Spiders:  "Being  one  day  in  an  English  company,"  says 
he,  "consisting  of  persons  of  distinction,  the  conversation 
happened  to  fall  on  antipathies.  The  greater  part  of  the 
company  denied  the  reality  of  them,  and  treated  them  as 
old  women's  tales ;  but  I  told  them  that  antipathy  was  a 
real  disease.  Mr.  William  Matthew,  son  of  the  Governor 
of  Barbados,  was  of  ray  opinion,  and,  as  he  added  that  he 
himself  had  an  extreme  antipathy  to  Spiders,  he  was  laughed 
at  by  the  whole  company.  I  showed  them,  however,  that 
this  was  a  real  impression  of  his  mind,  resulting  from  a 
mechanical  effect.  Mr.  John  Murray,  afterward  Duke  of 
Athol,  took  it  into  his  head  to  make,  in  Mr.  Matthew's  pres- 
ence, a  Spider  of  black  wax,  to  try  whether  this  antipathy 
would  appear  merely  on  the  sight  of  the  insect.  He  went 
out  of  the  room,  therefore,  and  returned  with  a  bit  of  black 
wax  in  his  hand,  which  he  kept  shut.  Mr.  Matthew,  who 
in  other  respects  was  a  sedate  and  amiable  man,  imagining 
that  his  friend  really  held  a  Spider,  immediately  drew  his 
sword  in  a  great  fury,  retired  with  precipitation  to  the  wall, 
leaned  against  it,  as  if  to  run  him  through,  and  sent  forth 
horrible  cries.  All  the  muscles  of  his  face  were  swelled,  his 
eye-balls  rolled  in  their  sockets,  and  his  whole  body  was  as 
stiff  as  a  post.  We  immediately  ran  to  him  in  great  alarm, 
and  took  his  sword  from  him,  assuring  him  at  the  same  time 
that  Mr.  Murray  had  nothing  in  his  hand  but  a  bit  of  wax, 
and  that  he  himself  might  see  it  on  the  table  where  it  was 
placed.  He  remained  some  time  in  this  spasmodic  state, 
and  I  was  really  afraid  of  the  consequences.  He,  however, 
gradually  recovered,  and  deplored  the  dreadful  passion  into 
which  he  had  been  thrown,  and  from  which  he  still  suffered. 
His  pulse  was  exceedingly  quick  and  full,  and  his  whole  body 
was  covered  with  a  cold  sweat.  After  taking  a  sedative,  he 
was  restored  to  his  former  tranquillity,  and  his  agitation 
was  attended  with  no  other  bad  consequences."^ 

1  B.  7,  c.  XV.  p.  065.     Printed  1G13. 

2  Eliz.  Cook's  Journ.y  vii.  378. 

3  ^Vanley's  Wo7iders,  i.  20. 


In  Batavia,  New  York,  on  the  evening  of  the  13th  of 
September,  1834,  Hon.  David  E.  Evans,  assent  of  the  Hol- 
land Land  Company,  discovered  in  his  wine-cellar  a  live 
striped  snake,  about  nine  inches  in  length,  suspended  be- 
tween two  shelves,  by  the  tail,  by  Spiders'  web.  From  the 
shelves  being  two  feet  apart,  and  the  position  of  the  web, 
the  witnesses  were  of  opinion  the  snake  could  not  have 
fallen  by  accident  into  it,  and  thus  have  become  inextricably 
entangled,  but  that  it  had  been  actually  captured,  and  drawn 
up  so  that  its  head  could  not  reach  the  shelf  below  by  about 
an  inch,  by  Spiders,  and  of  a  species  much  smaller  than  the 
common  fly,  three  of  which  at  night  were  seen  feeding  upon 
it,  while  it  was  yet  alive. 

Hon.  S.  Cumraings,  first  Judge  of  the  Court  of  Common 
Pleas  in  his  count}^  and  also  Postmaster  of  Batavia,  and  Mr. 
D.  Lyman  Beecher  have  described  this  phenomenon,  and 
given  the  names  of  quite  a  number  of  gentlemen  who  wit- 
nessed it,  and  will  testify  to  the  accuracy  of  their  accounts. 
Says  Mr.  Cummings :  "  Upon  a  critical  examination  through 
a  magnifying  glass,  the  following  curious  facts  appeared. 
The  mouth  of  the  snake  was  fast  tied  up,  by  a  great  number 
of  threads,  wound  around  it  so  tight  that  he  could  not  run 
out  his  tongue.  His  tail  was  tied  ir^  a  knot,  so  as  to  leave 
a  small  loop,  or  ring,  through  which  the  cord  was  fastened ; 
and  the  end  of  the  tail,  above  this  loop,  to  the  length  of 
something  over  half  an  inch,  was  lashed  fast  to  the  cord,  to 
keep  it  from  slipping.  As  the.,snake  hung,  the  length  of  the 
cord,  from  his  tail  to  the  focus  to  which  it  was  fastened,  was 
about  six  inches;  and  a  little  above  the  tail,  there  was  ob- 
served a  round  ball,  about  the  size  of  a  pea.  Upon  inspec- 
tion, this  appeared  to  be  a  green  fly,  around  which  the  cord 
had  been  wound  as  a  windlass,  with  which  the  snake  had 
been  hauled  up ;  and  a  great  number  of  threads  were 
fastened  to  the  cord  above,  and  to  the  rolling  side  of  this 
ball  to  keep  it  from  unwinding,  and  letting  the  snake  down. 
The  cord,  therefore,  must  have  been  extended  from  the  focus 
of  this  web  to  the  shelf  below  where  the  snake  was  lying 
when  first  captured;  and  being  made  fast  to  the  loop  in  liis 
tail,  the  fly  was  carried  and  fastened  about  midway  to  the 
side  of  the  cord.  And  then  by  rolling  this  fly  over  and  over, 
it  wound  the  cord  around  it,  both  from  above  and  below,  un- 
til the  snake  was  raised  to  the  proper  height,  and  then  was 
fastened,  as  before  mentioned. 



"In  this  situation  the  suffering  snake  hung,  alive,  and 
furnished  a  continued  feast  for  several  large  Spiders,  until 
Saturday  forenoon,  the  16th,  when  some  persons,  by  playing 
with  him,  broke  the  web  above  the  focus,  so  as  to  let  part  of 
his  body  rest  upon  the  shelf  below.  In  this  situation  he 
lingered,  the  Spiders  taking  no  notice  of  him,  until  Thurs- 
day, eight  days  after  he  was  discovered,  when  some  large 
ants  were  found  devouring  his  body."^ 

At  a  recent  meeting  of  the  Academy  of  Natural  Sciences, 
Philadelphia,  Mr.  Lesley  read  the  following  extract  from  a 
letter  written  by  Mr.  E.  A.  Spring,  of  Eagleswood,  X.  J.  : 

"I  was  over  on  the  South  Amboy  shore  with  a  friend, 
walking  in  a  swampy  wood,  where  a  dyke  was  made,  some 
three  feet  wide,  when  we  discovered  in  the  middle  of  this 
ditch  a  large  black  Spider  making  very  queer  motions  for  a 
Spider,  and,  on  examination,  it  proved  that  he  had  caught 
a  fish. 

"He  was  biting  the  fish,  just  on  the  forward  side  of  the 
dorsal  fin,  with  a  deadly  gripe,  and  the  poor  fish  was  swim- 
ming round  and  round  slowly,  or  twisting  its  body  as  if  in 
pain.  The  head  of  its  black  enemy  was  sometimes  almost 
pulled  under  water,  but  never  entirely,  for  the  fish  did  not 
seem  to  have  had  enough  strength,  but  moved  its  fins  as  if 
exhausted,  and  often  rested.  At  last  it  swam  under  a  float- 
ing leaf  at  the  shore,  and  appeared  to  be  trying,  by  going 
under  that,  to  scrape  off  the  Spider,  but  without  effect. 
They  then  got  close  to  the  bank,  when  suddenly  the  long 
black  legs  of  the  Spider  came  up  out  of  the  water,  where 
they  had  possibly  been  embracing  a  fish  (I  have  seen  Spiders 
seize  flies  with  all  their  legs  at  once),  reached  out  behind,  and 
fastened  upon  the  irregularities  of  the  side  of  the  ditch.  The 
Spider  then  commenced  tugging  to  get  his  prize  up  the  bank. 
My  friend  stayed  to  watch  them,  while  I  went  to  the  nearest 
house  for  a  wide-mouthed  bottle.  During  the  six  or  eight 
minutes  that  I  was  away,  the  Spider  had  drawn  the  fish  en- 
tirely out  of  the  water,  when  they  had  both  fallen  in  again, 
the  bank  being  nearly  perpendicular.  There  had  been  a 
great  struggle ;  and  now,  on  my  return,  the  fish  was  already 
hoisted  head  first  more  tiian  half  his  length  out  on  the  land. 
The  fish  was  very  much  exhausted,  hardly  making  any  move- 

1  Silliman's  JournaL  xxvii.  307-10. 



ment,  and  the  Spider  had  evidently  gained  the  victory,  and 
was  slowly  and  steadily  tugging  him  up.  He  had  not  once 
quitted  his  hold  during  the  quarter  to  half  an  hour  that  we  ^ 
had  watched  them.  He  held,  with  his  head  toward  the 
fish's  tail,  and  pulled  him  up  at  an  angle  of  forty-five  de- 
grees by  stepping  backward The  Spider  was  three- 
fourths  of  an  inch  long,  and  weighed  fourteen  grains ;  the 
fish  was  three  and  one-fourth  inches  long,  and  weighed 
sixty- six  grains."^ 

The  following  interesting  account  of  the  rarely-witnessed 
phenomenon  of  a  shower  of  webs  of  the  Gossamer-spider, 
Aranea  ohtextrix,  is*  given  us  by  Mr.  White:  "On  the 
21st  of  September,  1741,  being  intent  on  field  diversions,  I 
rose," says  this  gentleman,  "before  daybreak;  when  1  came 
into  the  enclosures,  I  found  the  stubbles  and  clover  grounds 
matted  all  over  with  a  thick  coat  of  cobweb,  in  the  meshes 
of  which  a  copious  and  heavy  dew  hung  so  plentifully,  that 
the  whole  face  of  the  country  seemed,  as  it  were,  covered 
with  two  or  three  setting-nets,  drawn  one  over  another. 
When  the  dogs  attempted  to  hunt,  their  eyes  were  so 
blinded  and  hood-winked  that  they  could  not  proceed,  but 
were  obliged  to  lie  down  and  scrape  the  incumbrances  from 
their  faces  with  their  fore-feet As  the  morning  ad- 
vanced, the  sun  became  bright  and  warm,  and  the  day  turned 
out  one  of  the  most  lovely  ones  which  no  season  but  the 
autumn  produces ;  cloudless,  calm,  serene,  and  worthy  of 
the  south  of  France  itself. 

"About  nine  an  appearance  very  unusual  began  to  demand 
our  attention,  a  shower  of  cobwebs  falling  from  very  elevated 
regions,  and  continuing,  without  any  interruption,  till  the 
close  of  the  day.  These  webs  v/ere  not  single  filmy  threads, 
floating  in  the  air  in  all  directions,  but  perfect  flakes  of  rags ; 
some  near  an  inch  broad,  and  five  or  six  long.  On  every 
side,  as  the  observer  turned  his  eyes,  might  he  behold  a 
continual  succession  of  fresh  flakes  falling  into  his  sight, 
and  twinkling  like  stars. "^ 

The  Times  of  October  9th,  1826,  records  another  shower 
of  gossamer  as  follows  :  "  On  Sunday,  Oct.  1st,  1826,  a  phe- 
nomenon of  rare  occurrence  in  the  neighborhood  of  Liver- 
pool was  observed  in  that  vicinage,  and  for  many  miles  dis- 

1  Annual  of  Set.  Disc,  1862,  p.  335. 

2  Nat.  Hist.  o/Selborne,  p.  285, 


tant,  especially  at  Wigan.  The  fields  and  roads  were 
covered  with  a  light  filmy  substance,  which,  by  many  per- 
sons, was  mistaken  for  cotton ;  although  they  might  have 
been  convinced  of  their  error,  as  staple  cotton  does  not  ex- 
ceed a  few  inches  in  length,  while  the  filaments  seen  in  such 
incredible  quantities  extended  as  many  yards.  In  walking 
in  the  fields  the  shoes  were  completely  covered  with  it,  and 
its  floating  fibres  came  in  contact  with  the  face  in  all  direc- 
tions. Every  tree,  lamp-post,  or  other  projecting  body  had 
arrested  a  portion  of  it.  It  profusely  descended  at  Wigan 
like  a  sleet,  and  in  such  quantities  as  to  affect  the  appear- 
ance of  the  atmosphere.  On  examination  it  was  found  to 
contain  small  flies,  some  of  which  were  so  diminutive  as  to 
require  a  magnifying  glass  to  render  them  perceptible.  The 
substance  so  abundant  in  quantity,  was  the  gossamer  of  the 
garden,  or  field  Spider,  often  met  with  in  fine  weather  in 
the  country,  and  of  which,  according  to  Buffon,  it  would 
take  663,552  Spiders  to  produce  a  single  pound. "^ 

*'In  the  yeare  that  L.  Paulus  and  C.  Marcellus  were 
Consuls,'!  says  Pliny,  "it  rained  wool  about  the  castle  Ca- 
rissa,  neare  to  which  a  yeare  after,  T.  Annius  Milo  was 
slaine."^  This  rain  of  wool  was  doubtless  a  shower  of  gos- 

It  was  an  old  and  strange  notion  that  the  gossamer  webs 
were  composed  of  dew  burned  by  the  sun.     Says  Spenser : 

Moi'e  subtle  web  Arachne  cannot  spin ; 

Nor  the  fine  nets,  which  oft  we  woven  see, 

Of  scorched  dew,  do  not  in  th'  ayre  more  lightly  flee.' 

Thomson  also : 

How  still  the  breeze!   save  what  the  filmy  threads 
Of  dew  evaporate  brushes  from  the  plain.* 

And  Quarles : 

And  now  autumnal  deivs  were  seen 
To  cobweb  evei'y  green. ^ 

Likewise  Blackmore : 

1  Hone's  Eo.  Day  Bk.,  p    1832. 

2  Nat.  ILst.,  ii.  54.     Holl.  Trans.,  p.  27.  F. 
'  Faerie  Queene,  B.  2,  c.  xii.  s.  77. 

*  Seasons:  Summer,  1.  1209. 
»  Emblems,  p.  375. 


How  part  is  spun  in  silken  threads,  and  clings, 
Entangled  in  the  grass,  in  gluey  strings.^ 

Henry  More  also  mentions  this  old  belief;  but  suspected, 
however,  the  true  origin  and  use  of  the  filmy  threads: 

As  light  and  thin  as  cobivebs  that  do  fly 
In  the  blue  air  caused  by  th'  autumnal  sun, 
That  boils  the  dew,  that  on  the  earth  doth  lie  ; 
May  seem  this  whitish  rag  then  is  the  scum  ; 
Unless  that  wiser  men  mak't  ih.e  field- spider' s  loom.^ 

Jamieson,  in  his  Scottish  Dictionary,  gives  sun-dew  webs 
as  a  name  given  in  the  South  of  Scotland  to  the  gossamer. 

The  Swedes  call  a  cobweb  diuaergsnaet,  from  dwaerg,  a 
species  of  malevolent  fairy  or  demon ;  very  ingenious,  and 
supposed  often  to  assume  the  appearance  of  a  Spider,  and 
to  form  these  nets.  The  peasants  of  that  country  say, 
Jorden  naefjar  sig,  "the  earth  covers  itself  with  a  net," 
when  the  whole  surface  of  the  ground  is  covered  with  gos- 
samer, which,  it  is  commonly  believed,  indicates  the  seed- 

Yoss,  in  a  note  on  his  Luise  (iii.  lY),  says  -that  the 
popular  belief  in  Germany  is,  that  the  gossamers  are  woven 
by  the  Dwarfs.  Keightley  thinks  the  word  gossamer  is  a 
corruption  of  gorse,  or  goss  samyt,  i.e.  the  samyt,  or  finely- 
woven  silken  web  that  lies  on  the  gorse  or  furze.* 

A  learned  man  and  good  natural  philosopher,  and  one  of 
the  first  Fellows  of  the  Royal  Society,  Robert  Hooke,  the 
author  of  Microgro.phia,  gravely  remarked  in  his  scientific 
disquisition  on  the  gossamer,  that  it  "was  not  unlikely,  but 
those  great  white  clouds,  that  appear  all  the  summer  time, 
may  be  of  the  same  substance  !!  "^ 

The  following  well-authenticated  incident  is  told  b}'-  Tur- 
ner as  having  occurred  when  he  was  a  young  practitioner: 
A  certain  young  woman  was  accustomed,  when  she  went 

1  Blackmore,  Prince  Arthur. 

2  Quot.  in  the  Athenseum,  v.  126. 
^  Jamieson' s  Scot.  Diet.,  iv.  133. 

*  Keightley's  Fairg  3Iythol.,  p.  514. 

s  Microgr.,  p.  202.  It  has  been  objected,  say  Kirby  and  Spence, 
to  the  excellent  primitive  writer,  Clemens  Komanus,  that  he  believed 
the  absurd  fable  of  the  phoenix.  But  surely  this  may  be  allowed 
for  in  him,  who  was  no  naturalist,  when  a  scientific  natural  philoso- 
pher could  believe  that  the  clouds  are  made.of  Spiders'  web  ! — In- 
trod.,  ii.  331,  note. 


into  the  vault  after  night,  to  go  Spider-hunting,  as  she 
called  it,  setting  fire  to  the  webs  of  Spiders,  and  burning 
the  insects  with  the  flame  of  the  candle.  It  happened  at 
length,  however,  after  this  whimsey  had  been  indulged  a 
long  time,  one  of  the  persecuted  Spiders  sold  its  life  much 
dearer  than  those  hundreds  she  had  destroyed,  and  most 
effectually  cured  her  of  her  idle  cruel  practice  ;  for,  in  the 
words  of  Dr.  James,  "lighting  upon  the  melted  tallow  of 
her  candle,  near  the  flame,  and  his  legs  becoming  entangled 
therein,  so  that  he  could  not  extricate  himself,  the  flame  or 
heat  coming  on,  he  was  made  a  sacrifice  to  his  cruel  perse- 
cutor, who,  delighting  her  eyes  with  the  spectacle,  still 
waiting  for  the  flame  to  take  hold  of  him,  he  presently 
burst  with  a  great  crack,  and  threw  his  liquor,  some  into 
her  eyes,  but  mostly  upon  her  lips;  by  means  of  which, 
flinging  away  her  candle,  she  cried  out  for  help,  as  fancying 
herself  killed  already  with  the  poison."  In  the  night  the 
woman's  lips  swelled  excessively,  and  one  of  her  eyes  was 
much  inflamed.  Her  gums  and  tongue  were  also  affected, 
and  a  continual  vomiting  attended.  For  several  days  she 
suffered  the  greatest  pain,  but  was  finally  cured  by  an  old 
woman  with  a  preparation  of  plantain  leaves  and  cobwebs 
applied  to  the  eyes,  and  taken  inwardly  two  or  three  times 
a  day. 

Before  this  accident  happened  to  her,  this  woman  asserted 
that  the  smell  of  the  Spiders  burning  oftentimes  so  afi'ected 
her  head,  that  objects  about  her  seemed  to  turn  round ;  she 
grew  faint  also  with  cold  sweats,  and  sometimes  a  light 
vomiting  followed,  yet  so  great  was  her  delight  in  torment- 
ing these  creatures,  and  driving  them  from  their  webs,  that 
she  could  not  forbear,  till  she  met  with  the  above  narrated 

A  similar  story  is  related  by  Nic.  Nicholas  of  a  man  he 
saw  at  his  hotel  in  Florence,  who,  burning  a  large  black 
Spider  in  the  flame  of  a  candle,  and  staying  for  some  time 
in  the  same  room,  from  the  fumes  arising,  grew  feeble,  and 
fell  into  a  fainting  fit,  suflering  all  night  great  palpitation 
at  the  heart,  and  afterward  a  pulse  so  ver}'  low  as  to  be 
scarcely  felt.^ 

Several  monks,  in  a  monastery  in  Florence,  are  said  to 

1  James's  Med.  Diet.  2  ji^id. 


have  died  from  the  effects  of  drinking  wine  from  a  vessel  in 
which  there  was  afterward  found  a  drowned  Spider.^ 

There  are  two  animals  to  which  the  Italians  give  the 
name  Tarantula:  the  one  is  a  species  of  Lizard,  whose  bite 
is  reputed  mortal,  found  about  Fondi,  Cajeta,  and  Capua; 
the  other  is  a  large  Spider,  found  in  the  fields  in  several 
parts  of  Italy,  and  especially  at  Tarentum — hence  the  name, 
"  Such  as  are  sUmghj this cveaiure (the  Ai^ajwa Tarantula) ,^^ 
says  Misson,  ''make  a  thousand  different  gestures  in  a  mo- 
ment ;  for  they  weep,  dance,  tremble,  laugh,  grow  pale,  cry, 
swoon  away,  and,  after  a  few  days  of  torment,  expire,  if 
they  be  not  assisted  in  time.  They  find  some  relief  by 
sweating  and  antidotes,  but  music  is  the  great  and  specific 
remedy.  A  learned  gentleman  of  unquestionable  credit  told 
me  at  Rome,  that  he  had  been  twice  a  witness  both  of  the 
disease  and  of  the  cure.  They  are  both  attended  with  cir- 
cumstances that  seem  very  strange;  but  the  matter  of  fact 
is  well  attested,  and  undeniable."^  Such  is  the  story  gen- 
erally told,  believed,  and  unquestioned,  that  has  found  its 
way  into  the  works  of  many  learned  travelers  and  natural- 
ists, but  which  is  without  the  slightest  shadow  of  truth. 

"I  think  I  could  produce,"  continues  the  deluded  Misson, 
"natural  and  easy  reasons  to  explain  this  effect  of  music; 
but  without  engaging  myself  in  a  dissertation  that  would 
carry  me  too  far,  I  shall  content  myself  with  relating  some 
other  instances  of  the  same  kind :  Every  one  knows  the 
efficacy  of  David's  harp  to  restore  Saul  to  the  use  of  his 
reason.  I  remember  Lewis  Guyon,  in  his  Lessons,  has  a 
story  of  a  lady  of  his  acquaintance,  who  lived  one  hundred 
and  six  years  without  ever  using  any  other  remedy  than 
music ;  for  which  purpose  she  allowed  a  salary  to  a  certain 
musician,  whom  she  called  her  physician ;  and  I  might  add 
that  I  was  particularly  acquainted  with  a  gentleman,  very 
much  subject  to  the  gout,  who  infallibly  received  ease,  and 
sometimes  was  wholly  freed  from  his  pains  by  a  loud  noise. 
He  used  to  make  all  his  servants  come  into  his  chamber, 
and  beat  with  all  their  force  upon  the  table  and  floor ;  and 
the  noise  they  made,  in  conjunction  with  the  sound  of  the 
violin,  was  his  sovereign  remedy."^ 

In  the  Treasvrie  of  Avncient  and  Moderne  Times,  printed 

1  James's  3Ied.  Diet. 

2  Harris's  Coll.  of  Voij.  and  Trav.,  ii.  586-7.  '  Ibid. 


ill  London,  the  year  1619,  we  find  the  following:  "Alexan- 
der Alexancb'inus  proceedeth  farther,  affirming  that  he 
beheld  one  wounded  by  this  Spider,  to  dance  and  leape 
about  incessantly,  anc^  the  Musitians  (finding  themselves 
wearied)  gave  over  playing :  whereupon,  the  poore  offended 
dancer,  hauing  vtterly  lost  all  his  forces,  fell  downe  on  the 
ground,  as  if  he  had  bene  dead.  The  Musitians  no  sooner 
began  to  playe  againe,  but  hee  returned  to  himselfe,  and 
mounting  vp  vpon  his  feet,  danced  againe  as  lustily  as 
formerly  hee  had  done,  and  so  continued  dancing  still,  til 
hee  found  the  harme  asswaged,  and  himselfe  entirely  re- 
covered. Heereunto  he  addeth,  that  when  it  hath  hap- 
pened, that  a  man  hath  not  beene  thorowly  cured  by  Mu- 
sique  in  this  manner;  within  some  short  while  after,  hear- 
ing the  sound  of  Instruments,  hee  hath  recouered  footing 
againe,  and  bene  enforced  to  hold  on  dancing,  and  never  to 
ceasse,  till  his  perfect  and  absolute  healing,  which  (question- 
lesse)  is  admirable  in  nature."^ 

Robert  Boyle,  in  his  Usefulness  of  Xatural  Philosophy, 
among  other  stories  of  the  power  of  music  upon  those  bit- 
ten by  Tarantulas,  mentions  the  following :  "  Upiphanius 
Ferdinandua  himself  not  only  tells  us  of  a  man  of  94  years 
of  age,  and  weak,  that  he  could  not  go,  unless  supported 
by  his  staff,  who  did,  upon  the  hearing  of  musick  after  he 
was  bitten,  immediately  fall  a  dancing  and  capering  like  a 
kid  ;  and  affirms  that  Tarantulas  themselves  may  be  brought 
to  leap  and  dance  at  the  sound  of  lutes,  small  drums,  bag- 
pipes, fiddles,  etc.;  but  challenges  those,  that  believe  them 
not,  to  come  and  try,  promising  them  an  occular  conviction  : 
and  adds  what  is  very  memorable  and  pleasant,  that  not 
only  men,  in  whom  much  may  be  ascribed  to  fancy,  but 
other  animals  being  bitten,  may  likewise,  by  musick,  be  re- 
duced to  leap  or  dance :  for  he  saith,  he  saw  a  Wasp,  which 
being  bitten  by  a  Tarantula,  whilst  a  lutanist  chanced  to 
be  by;  the  musician,  playing  upon  his  instrument  gave 
them  the  sport  of  seeing  both  the  Wasp  and  Spider  begin 
to  dance:  Annexing,  that  a  bitten  Cock  did  the  like."'^ 

In  an  Italian  nobleman's  palace,  Skippon  saw  a  fellow 
who  was  bitten  by  a  Tarantula;  "he  danced,"  says  this 
traveler,  "  very  antickly,  with  naked  swords,  to  a  tune  played 

1  Treasvrie  of  And.  and  Jfod.  Times,  p.  393. 
»  Boyle's  Works,  ii.  181-2. 


on  an  instrument."  The  Italians  say  that  if  the  Spider  be 
immediately  killed,  no  such  effects  will  appear;  but  as  long 
as  it  lives,  the  person  bitten  is  subject  to  these  paroxysms, 
and  when  it  dies  he  is  free.  Skippon  says  that  usually  they 
are  the  poorer  sort  of  people  who  say  they  are  bitten,  and 
they  beg  money  while  they  are  in  these  dancing  fits.^ 

Bell  was  informed  at  Buzabbatt  (in  Persia)  that  the  cele- 
brated Kashan  Tarantula  "neither  stings  nor  bites,  but 
drops  its  venom  upon  the  skin,  which  is  of  such  a  nature 
that  it  immediately  penetrates  into  the  body,  and  causes 
dreadful  symptoms ;  such  as  giddiness  of  the  head,  a  violent 
pain  in  the  stomach,  and  a  lethargic  stupefaction.  The 
remedy  is  the  application  of  the  same  animal  when  bruised 
to  the  part  affected,  by  which  the  poison  is  extracted.  They 
also  make  the  patient," continues  this  traveler,  "drink  abund- 
ance of  sweet  milk,  after  which  he  is  put  in  a  kind  of  tray, 
suspended  by  ropes  fixed  in  the  four  corners ;  it  is  turned 
round  till  the  ropes  are  twisted  hard  together,  and,  when  let 
go  at  once,  the  untwining  causes  the  basket  to  run  round 
with  a  quick  motion,  which  forces  the  patient  to  vomit.  "^ 

Skippon  was  shown  by  Corvino,  in  his  Museum  at  Rome, 
"a  Tarantula  Apula,  which  he  kept  some  time  alive;  and 
the  poison  of  it,  he  said,  broke  two  glasses."^ 

In  the  Treasvrie  of  Avncient  and  Moderne  Times,  it  is 
stated  of  "Harts,  that  when  they  are  bitten  or  stung  by  a 
venomous  kinde  of  Spiders,  called  jDhalanges;  they  heale 
themselves  by  eating  Greiiisses,  though  others  do  hold,  that 
it  is  by  an  Hearb  growing  in  the  water."* 

Diodorus  Siculus  tells  us  that  there  border  upon  the 
country  of  the  Acridophagi  a  large  tract  of  land,  rich  in 
fair  pastures,  but  desert  and  uninhabited ;  not  that  there 
were  never  any  people  there,  but  that  formerly,  when  it  was 
inhabited,  an  immoderate  rain  fell,  which  bred  a  vast  host 
of  Spiders  and  Scorpions :  that  these  implacable  enemies  of 
the  country  increased  so,  that  though  at  first  the  whole  na- 
tion attempted  to  destroy  them  (for  he  v.^ho  was  bitten  or 
stung  by  them,  immediately  fell  dead),  so  that,  not  knowing 
where  to  remain,  or  how  to  get  food,  they  were  forced  to  fly 

1  Astley's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  vi.  607. 

2  Pinkerton's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  vii.  299. 

3  Astley's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  vi.  656. 

4  B.  7,  c.  15,  p.  664.  Printed  1613. 



to  some  other  place  for  relief.^  Strabo  has  inserted  also  this 
miraculous  story  in  his  Geography.^ 

Mr.  Nichols  mentions  Spiders  as  having  been  embroidered 
on  the  white  gowns  of  ladies  in  the  time  of  Queen  Eliza- 

Sloane  tells  us  the  housekeepers  of  Jamaica  keep  large 
Spiders  in  their  houses  to  kill  cockroaches.^ 

Captain  Dampier,  after  minutely  describing  in  his  quaint 
way  the  "teeth"  of  a  "sort  of  Spider,  some  near  as  big  as 
a  Man's  Fist,"  which  are  found  in  the  West  Indies,  says : 
"  These  Teeth  we  often  preserve.  Some  wear  them  in  their 
Tobacco-pouches  to  pick  their  Pipes.  Others  preserve  them 
for  tooth-pickers,  especially  such  as  are  troubled  with  the 
toothache ;  for  by  report  they  will  expell  that  Pain."^  These 
teeth,  which  are  of  a  finely  polished  substance,  extremely 
hard,  and  of  a  bright  shining  black,  are  often,  in  the  Ber- 
mudas, for  these  qualities  set  in  silver  or  gold  and  used  also 
for  tooth -pick s.^ 

Dr.  Sparrman  says  that  Spiders  form  an  article  of  the 
Bushman's  dainties ;'  and  Labillardiere  tells  us  that  the  in- 
habitants of  New  Caledonia  seek  for  and  eat  with  avidity 
large  quantities  of  a  Spider  nearly  an  inch  long  (which  he 
calls  Aranea  edulis)  and  which  they  roast  over  the  fire.^ 
Spiders  are  also  eaten  by  the  American  Indians  and  Aus- 
tralians.^ Molien  says  :  "The  people  of  Maniana,  south  of 
Gambia  and  Senegal,  are  cannibals.  They  eat  Spiders, 
Beetles,  and  old  men."^°  In  Siam,  also,  we  learn  from  Tur- 
pin,  the  egg-bags  of  Spiders  are  considered  a  delicate  food. 
The  bags  of  certain  poisonous  species  which  make  holes  in 
the  ground  in  the  woods  are  preferred. ^^ 

And  Peter  Martyr,  in  his  History  of  the  West  Indies, 
makes  the  following  statement :  "  The  Chiribichenses  (Carib- 

1  Diod.,  B.  3,  c.  2. 

2  Strabo,  B.  16,  c.  6,  I  13. 

3  Fosbr.  Encyc.  of  Antiq  ,  ii.  738. 

*  Sloane's  Hist,  of  Jamaica,  ii.  195. 

5  Damp.  Voy.  Camp.,  p.  64. 

6  Hari'is's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  ii.  242.  Cf.  Smith's  Nature  and 
Art,  X.  257. 

7  Travels,  i.  201. 

8  Voyage  d  la  recherche  de  laPeronse,  ii.  240.   K.  &  S.  Introd.,  i.  311. 
^  New  Amer    Cyclop. 

10  Trov.  in  Africa.     Bucke  on  Nature^  ii.  297. 

11  Pinkerton's  Col.  of  Voy.  and  Trav.,  ix.  612. 


beans)  eate  Spiders,  Frogges,  and  whatsoever  woormes,  and 
lice  also  without  loathing,  although  in  other  thinges  they 
are  so  queasie  stomaked,  that  if  they  see  anything  that  doth 
not  like  them,  they  presently  cast  upp  whatsoever  is  in  their 

Reaumur  tells  us  of  a  young  lady  who  when  she  walked 
in  her  grounds  never  saw  a  Spider  that  she  did  not  take  and 
eat  upon  the  spot.^  Another  female,  the  celebrated  Anna 
Maria  Schurman,  used  to  crack  them  between  her  teeth  like 
nuts,  which  she  affirmed  they  much  resembled  in  taste,  ex- 
cusing her  propensity  by  saying  that  she  was  born  under 
the  sign  Scorpio.^  "  When  Alexander  reigned,  it  is  reported 
that  there  was  a  very  beautiful  strumpet  in  Alexandria,  that 
fed  alwayes  from  her  childhood  on  Spiders,  and  for  that  rea- 
son the  king  was  admonished  that  he  should  be  very  carefuU 
not  to  embrace  her,  lest  he  should  be  poysoned  by  venome 
that  might  evaporate  from  her  by  sweat.  Albertus  Magnus 
also  makes  mention  of  a  certain  noble  mayd  of  Collen,  that 
was  fed  with  Spiders  from  her  childhood.  And  we  in  Eng- 
land have  a  great  lady  yet  living,  who  will  not  leave  ofif  eat- 
ing of  them.  And  Phaerus,  a  physician,  did  often  eat  them 
without  any  hurt  at  all."* 

La  Lande,  the  celebrated  French  astronomer,  we  are  told 
by  Disjonval,  ate  as  delicacies  Spiders  and  Caterpillars, 
He  boasted  of  this  as  a  philosophic  trait  of  character,  that 
he  could  raise  himself  above  dislikes  and  prejudices;  and, 
to  cure  Madame  Lepaute  of  a  very  annoying  fear  of,  and 
antipathy  to  Spiders,  it  is  said  he  gradually  habituated  her 
to  look  upon  them,  to  touch,  and  finally  to  swallow  them  as 
readily  as  he  himself.^ 

A  German,  immortalized  by  Rosel,  used  to  eat  Spiders 
by  handfuls,  and  spread  them  upon  his  bread  like  butter, 
observing  that  he  found  them  very  useful,  "wm  sicli  auszu- 

1  Hist,  of  West  Indies,  p.  301. 

2  Reaum.,  ii.  342.  K  &  S.  Introd.,  i.  311. 

^  Phil.    Trans.      Southey's   Com.  Place  Bk.,  3d  S.  p.  731.     Shaw, 
Nat.  Misc. 

4  Moufet,  Theatr.  Ins.,  p.  220.     Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts  and  Ser- 
pents, p.  789,  1067.     Wanley's  Wonders,  ii.  459. 

5  Biogr.  Univers.,  tome  xxiii.  p.  230,  note. 

6  Rosel,  iv.  257.     K.  &  S.  Introd.,  i.  311. 


The  satirist,  Peter  Pindar,  records  the  same  of  Sir  Joshua 
Banks  : 

How  early  Genius  shows  itself  at  times, 

Thus  Pope,  the  prince  of  poets,  lisped  in  rhytnes, 

And  our  Sir  Joshua  Banks,  most  strange  to  utter. 

To  whom  each  cockroach-eater  is  a  fool. 

Did,  when  a  very  little  boy  at  school. 
Eat  Spiders,  spread  upon  his  bread  and  butter. 

Conradus,  bishop  of  Constance,  at  the  sacrament  of  the 
Lord's  Supper,  drank  off  a  Spider  that  had  fallen  into  his 
cup  of  wine,  while  he  was  busied  in  the  consecration  of  the 
elements ;  "yet  did  he  not  receive  the  least  hurt  or  damage 

We  learn  from  Poggio,  the  Florentine,  that  Zisca,  the 
great  and  victorious  reformer  of  Bohemia,  was  such  an  epi- 
cure, that  he  only  asked  for,  as  his  share  of  the  plunder,  what 
he  was  pleased  to  call  "the  cobwebs,  which  hung  from  the 
roofs  of  the  farmers'  houses."  It  is  said,  however,  that  this 
was  but  one  of  his  witty  circumlocutions  to  express  the  hams, 
sausages,  and  pig-cheeks,  for  which  Bohemia  has  always 
been  celebrated.'- 

For  the  bite  of  all  Spiders,  according  to  Pliny,  the  best 
remedies  are  "a  cock's  brains,  taken  in  oxycrate  with  a  lit- 
tle pepper  ;  five  ants,  swallowed  in  drink;  sheep's  dung  ap- 
plied in  vinegar;  and  Spiders  of  any  kind,  left  to  putrify 
in  oil."^  Another  proper  remedy,  says  this  writer,  is,  "to 
present  before  the  eyes  of  a  person  stung  another  Spider  of 
the  same  description,  a  purpose  for  which  they  are  preserved 
when  found  dead.  Their  husks  also,"  he  continues,  "found 
in  a  dry  state,  are  beaten  up  and  taken  in  drink  for  a  similar 
purpose.  The  young  of  the  weasel,  too,  are  possessed  of  a 
similar  property."^ 

Among  the  remedies  given  by  Pliny  for  diseases  of  eyes, 
is  mentioned  "the  cobweb  of  the  common  fly-Spider,  that 
which  lines  its  hole  more  particularly.  This,"  he  continues, 
"applied  to  the  forehead  across  the  temples,  in  a  compress 
of  some  kind  or  other,  is  said  to  be  marvellously  useful  for 
the  cure  of  defluxions  of  the  eyes  ;  the  web  must  be  taken, 
however,  and  applied  by  the  hands  of  a  boy  who  has  not 

1  Wanley's  Wonders,  ii.  459. 

2  Andrew's  Anecd.,  p.  37.  App. 

3  Nat.  Hist.,  xxix.  27.     Bost.  &  Rilcy.  "  Ibid. 


arrived  at  the  years  of  puberty;  the  boy,  too,  must  not 
show  himself  to  the  patient  for  three  days,  and  during  those 
three  days  neither  of  them  must  touch  the  ground  with  his 
feet  uncovered.  The  white  Spider  with  very  elongated, 
thin  legs,  beaten  up  in  old  oil,  forms  an  ointment  which  is 
used  for  the  cure  of  albugo.  The  Spider,  too,  whose  web, 
of  remarkable  thickness,  is  generally  found  adhering  to  the 
rafters  of  houses,  applied  in  a  piece  of  cloth,  is  said  to  be 
curative  of  defluxions  of  the  eyes."^ 

As  a  remedy  for  the  ears,  Pliny  says :  "  The  thick  pulp  of 
a  Spider's  body,  mixed  with  oil  of  roses,  is  used  for  the 
ears ;  or  else  the  pulp  applied  by  itself  with  saifron  or  in 

For  fractures  of  the  cranium,  Pliny  says,  cobwebs  are 
applied,  with  oil  and  vinegar;  the  application  never  coming 
away  till  a  cure  has  been  effected.  Cobwebs  are  good,  too, 
he  continues,  for  stopping  the  bleeding  of  wounds  made  in 
shaving.^  They  are  still  used  for  this  purpose,  as  also  the 
fur  from  articles  made  of  beaver. 

In  Ben  Jonson's  Stable  of  News,  Almanac  says  of  old 
Penny  boy  (as  a  skit  upon  his  penuriousness),  that  he 

Sweeps  down  no  cobwebs  here, 
But  sells  'em  for  cut  fingei^s  ;   and  the  Spiders, 
As  creatures  rear'd  of  dust,  and  cost  him  nothing, 
To  fat  old  ladies'  monkies.* 

And  Shakspeare,  in  his  Midsummer-Night's  Dream, 
makes  Bottom  say  to  the  fairy  Cobweb : 

"I  shall  desire  you  of  more  acquaintance,  good  master  Cobweb. 
If  I  cut  my  finger,  I  shall  make  bold  with  you."^ 

Pills  formed  of  Spiders'  webs  are  still  considered  an  in- 
fallible cure  for  the  ague.^  Dr.  Graham,  in  his  Domestic 
Medicine,  prescribes  it  for  ague  and  intermittent  fever.  And 
Spiders  themselves,  with  their  legs  pinched  off,  and  then 

1  Nat.  Hist.,  xxix.  38. 

2  Ibid.,  xxix.  39.  3  Ibid.,  xxix.  3G. 

4  Staple  of  News,  A.  ii.  So.  1,  vol.  v.  p.  219.  Lond.  1816.  '*  A 
Spider  is  usually  given  to  monkeys,  and  is  esteemed  a  sovereign 
remedy  for  the  disorders  those  animals  are  principally  subject  to." 
— James's  Med.  Diet.  Spiders  are  also  fed  to  mocking-birds,  not 
only  as  food,  but  also  as  an  aperient. 

5  Mid.  Night's  Dream,  Act  iii.  Sc.  1. 

6  Vide  Eventful  Life  of  a  Soldier.  Edinbg.  1852, 



powdered  with  flour,  so  as  to  resemble  a  pill,  are  also  some- 
times given  for  ague.^  Dr.  Chapman,  of  Philadelphia,  states 
that  in  doses  of  five  grains  of  Spiders'  web,  repeated  every 
fourth  or  fifth  hour,  he  has  cured  some  obstinate  intermit- 
tents,  suspended  the  paroxysms  of  hectic,  overcome  morbid 
vigilance  from  excessive  nervous  mobility,  and  quieted  irrita- 
tion of  the  system  from  various  causes,  and  not  less  as  con- 
nected with  protracted  coughs  and  other  chronic  pectoral 

Mrs.  Delany,  in  a  letter  dated  March  1st,  It 43-4,  gives 
two  infallible  recipes  for  ague. 

1st.  Pounded  ginger,  made  into  paste  with  brandy,  spread 
on  sheep's  leather,  and  a  plaister  of  it  laid  over  the  navel. 

2d.  A  Spider  put  into  a  goose-quill,  well  sealed  and  se- 
cured, and  hung  about  the  child's  neck  as  low  as  the  pit  of 
its  stomach. 

Upon  this  Lady  Llanover  notes:  "Although  the  pre- 
scription of  the  Spider  in  the  quill  will  probably  create 
amusement,  considered  as  an  old  charm,  yet  there  is  no 
doubt  of  the  medicinal  virtues  of  Spiders  and  their  webs, 
which  have  been  long  known  to  the  Celtic  inhabitants  of 
Great  Britain  and  Ireland.""* 

The  above  mentioned  Dr.  Graham  states  that  he  has 
known  of  a  Spider  having  been  sewed  up  in  a  rag  and  worn 
as  a  periapt  round  the  neck  to  charm  away  the  ague.* 

In  the  Netherlands,  it  is  thought  good  for  an  ague,  to  in- 
close a  Spider  between  the  two  halves  of  a  nut-shell,  and 
wear  it  about  the  neck.^ 

"In  the  diary  of  Elias  Ashmole,  11th  April,  1681,  is  pre- 
served the  following  curious  incident:  'I  took  early  in  the 
morning  a  good  dose  of  elixir,  and  hung  three  Spiders  about 
my  neck,  and  they  drove  my  ague  away.  Deo  gratias  I' 
Ashmole  was  a  judicial  astrologer,  and  the  patron  of  the 
renowned  Mr.  Lilly.     Par  nobile  fratrum."** 

'Among  the  approved  remedies  of  Sir  Matthew  Lister,  I 
find,"  says  Dr.  James,  "that  the  distilled  water  of  black 

liV.  and  Q.,  2d  ed.  x.  138. 

2  Fleme?its  of  Mat.  Med.  and  Therap.,  PluLid.  1825. 

3  Chamb.  Bk.  of  Days,  i.  732. 

4  Grab.  Domest.  Med. 

5  Thorpe's  North.  iVythoL,  iii.  329. 

6  Brand's  Pop.  An/iq.,  iii.  287. 


Spiders  is  an  excellent  cure  for  wounds,  and  that  this  was 
one  of  the  choice  secrets  of  Sir  Walter  Raleigh.  .  .  . 

"The  Spider  is  said  to  avert  the  paroxisms  of  fevers,  if 
it  be  applied  to  the  pulse  of  the  wrist,  or  the  temples ;  but 
it  is  peculiarly  recommended  against  a  quartan,  being  en- 
closed in  the  shell  of  a  hazlenut.   .  .  . 

"The  Spider,  which  some  call  the  catcher,  or  wolf,  being 
beaten  into  a  plaister,  then  sewed  up  in  linen,  and  applied  to 
the  forehead  and  temples,  prevents  the  return  of  the  tertian. 

There  is  another  kind  of  Spider,  which  spins  a  white, 

fine,  and  thick  web.  One  of  this  sort,  wrapped  in  leather, 
and  hung  about  the  arm,  will,  it  is  said,  avert  the  fit  of  a 
quartan.  Boiled  in  oil  of  roses,  and  distilled  into  the  ears, 
it  eases  (says  Dioscorides,  ii.  68)  pains  in  those  parts.  .  .  . 

"The  country  people  have  a  tradition,  that  a  small  quan- 
tity of  Spiders'  web,  given  about  an  hour  before  the  fit  of  an 
ague,  and  repeated  immediately  before  it,  is  efi'ectual  in  cur- 
ing that  troublesome,  and  sometimes  obstinate  distemper. 
The  Indians  about  North  Carolina  have  great  de- 
pendence on  this  remedy  for  ague,  to  which  they  are  much 

"Of  the  cod  or  bags  of  Spiders,  M.  Bon  caused  a  sort  of 
drops  to  be  made,  in  imitation  of  those  of  Goddard,  because 
they  contain  a  great  quantity  of  volatile  salt."^ 

Moufet,  in  Theatrum  Insectorum,  has  the  following : 
"Also  that  knotty  whip  of  God,  and  mock  of  all  physicians, 
the  Gowt,  which  learned  men  say  can  be  cured  by  no  remedy, 
findes  help  and  cure  by  a  Spider  layed  on,  if  it  be  taken  at 
that  time  when  neither  sun  nor  moon  shine,  and  the  hinder 
legs  pulled  off,  and  put  into  a  deer's  skin  and  bound  to  the 
pained  foot,  and  be  left  on  it  for  some  time.  Also  for  the 
most  part  we  finde  those  people  to  be  free  from  the  gowt  of 
hands  or  feet  (which  few  medicaments  can  doe),  in  whose 
houses  the  Spiders  breed  much,  and  doth  beautifie  them  with 

her  tapestry  and    hangings Our   chirurgeons  cure 

warts  thus:  They  wrap  a  Spider's  ordinary  web  into  the 
fashion  of  a  ball,  and  laying  it  on  the  wart,  they  set  it  on 
fire,  and  so  let  it  burn  to  ashes;  by  this  means  the  wart  is 

rooted  out  by  the  roots,  and  will  never  grow  again 

I  cannot  but  repeat  a  history  that  I  formerly  heard  from 

^  James's  Med.  Diet. 

2  Geoffrey's  Stihstances  usrd  i?i  Med.,  p.  oS8. 


our  dear  friend  worthy  to  be  believed,  Brueriis.  A  lustfuU 
nephew  of  his,  having  spent  his  estate  in  rioting  and  brothel- 
houses,. being  ready  to  undertake  anything  for  money,  to  the 
hazzard  of  his  life ;  when  he  heard  of  a  rich  matron  of  Lon- 
don, that  was  troubled  with  a  tirapany,  and  was  forsaken  of 
all  physicians  as  past  cure,  he  counterfeited  himself  to  be  a 
physician  in  practice,  giving  forth  that  he  would  cure  her 
and  all  diseases.  But  as  the  custom  is,  he  must  have  half  in 
hand,  and  the  other  half  under  her  hand,  to  be  payed  when 
she  was  cured.  Then  he  gave  her  a  Spider  to  drink,  as 
supposing  her  past  cure,  promising  to  make  her  well  in 
three  dayes,  and  so  in  a  coach  with  four  horses  he  presently 
hastes  out  of  town,  lest  there  being  a  rumor  of  the  death  of 
her  (which  he  supposed  to  be  very  neer).he  should  be  ap- 
prehended for  killing  her.  But  the  woman  shortly  after  by 
the  force  of  the  venome  was  cured,  and  the  ignorant  physi- 
cian, who  was  the  author  of  so  great  a  work,  was  not  known. 
After  some  moneths  this  good  man  returns,  not  knowing  what 
had  happened,  and  secretly  enquiring  concerning  the  state  of 
that  woman,  he  heard  she  was  recovered.  Then  he  began 
to  boast  openly,  and  to  ask  her  how  she  had  observed  her 
diet,  and  he  excused  his  long  absence,  by  reason  of  the  sicke- 
nesse  of  a  principal  friend,  and  that  he  was  certain  that  no 
harm  could  proceed  from  so  healthful  physick;  also  he  asked 
confidently  for  the  rest  of  his  reward,  and  to  be  given  him 

"A  third  kind  of  Spiders,"  says  Pliny,  "also  known  as 
the  'phalangium,'  is  a  Spider  with  a  hairy  body,  and  a  head 
of  enormous  size.  When  opened,  there  are  found  in  it  two 
small  worms,  they  say :  these,  attached  in  a  piece  of  deer's 
skin,  before  sunrise,  to  a  woman's  body,  will  prevent  con- 
ception, according  to  what  CaBcilius,  in  his  Commentaries, 
says.  This  property  lasts,  however,  for  a  year  only  ;  and, 
indeed,  it  is  the  only  one  of  all  the  anti-conceptives  that  I 
feel  myself  at  liberty  to  mention,  in  favour  of  some  women 
whose  fecundity,  quite  teeming  with  children  (plena  liberis), 
stands  in  need  of  some  such  respite."^ 

Mr.  John  Aubrey,  in  the  chapter  of  his  Miscellanies  de- 
voted to  Magick,  gives  the  following  :  "  To  cure  a  Beast  that 
is  sprung,  (that  is)  poisoned  (It  mostly  lights  upon  Sheep): 

1  Moufet,  Theatr.  Insect.,  p.  237.  Topsel's  Hist,  of  Beasts  and  Ser- 
pents, p.  1073. 

'i  ^^at.  Hist.,  xxix.  27. 


Take  the  little  red  Spider,  called  a  tentbob  (not  so  big  as  a 
great  pin's-head),  the  first  you  light  upon  in  the  spring  of  the 
year,  and  rub  it  in  the  palm  of  your  hand  all  to  pieces :  and 
having  so  done,  make  water  on  it,  and  rub  it  in,  and  let  it 
dry ;  then  come  to  the  beast  and  make  water  in  your  hand, 
and  throw  it  in  his  mouth.  It  cures  in  a  matter  of  an  hour's 
time.  This  rubbing  serves  for  a  whole  year,  and  it  is  no 
danger  to  the  hand.  The  chiefest  skill  is  to  know  whether 
the  beast  be  poisoned  or  no."^  Mr.  Aubrey  had  this  receipt 
from  Mr.  Pacy. 

In  the  year  1709,  M.  Bon,  of  Montpellier,  communicated 
to  the  Royal  Academy  of  that  city  a  discovery-which  he  had 
made  of  a  new  kind  of  silk,  from  the  very  fine  threads  with 
which  several  species  of  Spiders  (probably  the  Aranea  dia- 
dema  and  others  closely  allied  to  it)  inclose  their  eggs  ;  which 
threads  were  found  to  be  much  stronger  than  those  compos- 
ing the  Spider's  web.  They  were  easily  separated,  carded, 
and  spun,  and  then  afforded  a  much  finer  thread  than  that  of 
the  silk-worm,  but,  according  to  Reaumur,  inferior  to  this 
both  in  luster  and  strength.  They  were  also  found  capable 
of  receiving  all  the  different  dyes  with  equal  facility.  M. 
Bon  carried  his  experiments  so  far  as  to  obtain  two  or  three 
pairs  of  stockings  and  gloves  of  this  silk,  which  were  of  an 
elegant  gray  color,  and  were  presented,  as  samples,  to  the 
Academy.  As  the  Spiders  also  were  much  more  prolific, 
and  much  more  hardy  than  silk-worms,  great  expectations 
were  formed  of  benefit  of  the  discovery.  Reaumur  ac- 
cordingly took  up  and  prosecuted  the  inquiry  with  zeal. 
He  computed  that  663,522  Spiders  would  scarcely  furnish  a 
single  pound  of  silk  ;  and  conceived  that  it  would  be  impos- 
sible to  provide  the  necessarily  immense  numbers  with  flies, 
their'  natural  food.  This  obstacle,  however,  was  soon  re- 
moved, by  his  finding  that  they  would  subsist  very  well  upon 
earth-worms  chopped,  and  upon  the  soft  ends  or  roots  of 
feathers.  But  a  new  obstacle  arose  from  their  unsocial  pro- 
pensities, which  proved  insurmountable  ;  for  though  at  first 
they  seemed  to  feed  quietly,  and  even  work  together,  several 
of  them  at  the  same  web,  yet  they  soon  began  to  quarrel, 
and  the  strongest  devoured  the  weakest,  so  that  of  several 
hundred,  placed  together  in  a  box,  but  three  or  four  re- 
mained alive  after  a  few  days  ;  and  nobody  could  propose 
to  keep  and  feed  each  separately.     The  silk  was  found  to  be 

1  Miscellanies,  p.  138. 


naturally  of  different  colors ;  particularly  white,  yellow,  gray, 
,  sky-blue,  and  coffee-colored  brown/ 

A  Spider  raiser  in  France,  more  recently,  is  said  to  have 
tamed  eight  hundred  Spiders,  which  he  kept  in  a  single 
apartment  for  their  silk.'-^ 

De  Azara  states  that  in  Paraguay  a  Spider  forms  a 
spherical  cocoon  for  its  eggs,  an  inch  in  diameter,  of  a 
yellow  silk,  which  the  inhabitants  spin  on  account  of  the 
permanency  of  the  color.^ 

The  ladies  of  Bermuda  make  use  of  the  silk  of  the  Silk- 
Spider,  Epeira  clavipes,  for  sewing  purposes.* 

The  Spider-web  fabric  has  been  carried  so  nearly  to  trans- 
parency (in  Ilindostan)  that  the  Emperor  Aureugzebe  is  said 
to  have  reproved  his  daughter  for  the  indelicacy  of  her 
costume,  while  she  wore  as  many  as  seven  thicknesses  of  it.^ 

Astronomers  employ  the  strongest  thread  of  Spiders,  the 
one,  namely,  that  supports  the  web,  for  the  divisions  of  the 
micrometer.  By  its  ductility  this  thread  acquires  about  a 
fifth  of  its  ordinary  length.*^ 

Topsel,  in  his  History  of  Four-footed  Beasts  and  Ser- 
pents, has  the  following,  which  he  calls  an  "  old  and  com- 
mon verse : 

Nos  aper  auditu  prtecellit,  Aranea  tactu, 
Vultur  odoratu,  lynx  visu,  simia  gustu. 

Which  may  be  Englished  thus  : 

To  hear,  the  boar,  to  touch,  the  Spider  us  excells, 

The  lynx  to  see,  the  ape  to  taste,  the  vulture  for  the  smells." '' 

"It  is  m.anifest,"  says  Moufet,  "that  Spiders  are  bred  of 
some  aereall  seeds  putrefied,  from  filth  and  corruption,  be- 
cause that  the  newest  houses  the  first  day  they  are  whited 
will  have  both  Spiders  and  cobwebs  in  them."^  This  theory 
of  generation  from  putrefaction  was  a  favorite  one  among 
the  ancient  writers;  see  the  history  of  the  Scorpion. 

1  Vide  Hist,  and  Mem.  de  V  Acad.  Royaledes  Sciences,  anu.  1710;  Dis- 
sert, by  M.  Bon,  Sur  Vutilite  de  la  soye  des  Arraigi}6es,  8vo.  Also, 
Bancroft  on  Permanent  Colors,  i.  101  ;  and  Shaw's  Nat.  Hist.,  vi.  481. 

2  New  Amer.  Cyclop. 

8  Voy.  dans  vAmer.  3ferid.,  i.  212.     K.  and  S.  Introd.,  i.  337. 
*  Naturalist  in  Bermuda,  p.  126. 

5  Atlantic  Monthly,  June,  1858,  p.  92. 

6  Nouv.  Diet,  d'llist.  Nat.,  ii.  280.     K.  and  S.  Introd.,  i.  337,  note. 
'  Hist,  of  Beasts  and  Serpents,  p.  778, 

8  Theatr.  lns.,i>.  235.     Topsel's  Trans.,  p.  1072. 


It  may  be  new  to  many  of  our  readers,  who  are  familiar 
with  the  Elegy  in  a  Country  Church-yard,  to  be  told  that  its 
author  was  at  the  pains  to  turn  the  characteristics  of  the 
Linnagan  orders  of  insects  into  Latin  hexamerters,  the  manu- 
script of  which  is  still  preserved  in  his  interleaved  copy  of 
the  "  Systeraa  Naturae."  ^ 

It  is  related  by  Boerhaave,  in  his  Life  of  Swammerdam, 
that  when  the  Grand  Duke  of  Tuscany  was  visiting  with 
Mr.  Thevenot  the  curiosities  of  Holland,  in  1668,  he  found 
nothing  more  worthy  of  his  admiration  than  the  great  natu- 
ralist's account  of  the  structure  of  caterpillars, — for  Swam- 
merdam, by  the  skillful  management  of  instruments  of  won- 
derful delicacy  and  fineness,  showed  the  duke  in  what  man- 
ner the  future  butterfly,  with  all  its  parts,  lies  neatly  folded 
up  in  the  caterpillar,  like  a  rose  in  the  unexpanded  bud. 
He  was,  indeed,  so  struck  with  this  and  other  wonders  of 
the  insect  world,  disclosed  to  him  by  the  great  naturalist, 
that  he  made  him  the  offer  of  twelve  thousand  florins  to  in- 
duce him  to  reside  at  his  court ;  but  Swammerdam,  from 
feelings  of  independence,  modestly  declined  to  accept  it, 
preferring  to  continue  his  delightful  studies  at  home.^ 

There  is  an  epitaph  in  the  church  of  St!  Hilary  at  Poic- 
tiers,  beginning  ''Yermibus  hie  ponor,"  which  the  people 
interpreted  to  mean  that  a  Saint  was  buried  there  who  un- 
dertook to  cure  children  of  the  worms.  Women,  accord- 
ingly used  to  scrape  the  tomb  and  administer  the  powder; 
but  the  clergy,  to  prevent  this  absurdity  (for  Luther  had 
arisen),  erected  a  barrier  to  keep  them  off.  They  soon  be- 
gan, however,  to  carry  away  for  the  same  purpose  pieces  of 
the  wooden  bars.^ 

1  7ns.  Archit.,  p.  7. 

2  Swammerdam,  Hist,  of  Ins.,  p.  5. 

3  Garasse,  Recherches  des  Recherches  de  M.  Estiene  Pasquier,  p.  357, 
Southey's  Com.  Place  Bk.,  3d  S.  p.  282. 



•  A  diseased  woman  at  Patton,  drinking  of  the  water  in 
which  the  bones  of  St.  Milburge  were  washed,  there  came 
from  her  stomach  "a  filthie  worme,  ugly  and  horrible  to  be- 
hold, having  six  feete,  two  homes  on  his  head,  and  two  on 
his  tayle."  Brother  Porter,  in  his  Flowers  of  the  Saints, 
tells  this,  and  adds  that  the  "  worme  was  shutt  up  in  a  hol- 
low piece  of  wood,  and  reserved  afterward  in  the  monaste- 
rie  as  a  trophy  and  monument  of  S.  Milburg,  untill,  by  the 
lascivious  furie  of  him  that  destroyed  all  goodness  in  Eng- 
land, that  with  other  religious  houses  and  monasteries,  went 
to  ruin."  Hence  the  "filthie  worme"  was  lost,  and  we  have 
nothing  now  instead  but  the  Reformation.^ 

Capt.  Clarke,  in  his  passage  from  Dublin  to  Chester,  on 
the  2d  of  September,  1733,  met  with  a  cloud  "of  flying  in- 
sects of  various  sorts,"  which  stuck  about  the  rigging  of  the 
vessel  in  a  surprising  manner.^ 

De  Geer,  chamberlain  to  the  King  of  Sweden,  writes 
(iv.  63)  that  in  January,  1749,  at  Leufsta,  in  Sweden,  and 
in  three  or  four  neighboring  parishes,  the  snow  was  covered 
with  living  worms  and  insects  of  various  kinds.  The  peo- 
ple assured  him  they  fell  with  the  snow,  and  he  was  shown 
several  that  had  dropped  on  people's  hats.  He  caused  the 
snow  to  be  removed  from  places  where  these  worms  had 
been  seen,  and  found  several  which  seemed  to  be  on  the  sur- 
face of  the  snow  which  had  fallen  before,  and  were  covered 
by  the  succeeding.  It  was  impossible  that  they  could  have 
come  there  from  under  the  ground,  which  was  then  frozen 
more  than  three  feet  deep,  and  absolutely  impervious  to 
such  insects.  In  1750,  he  again  discovered  vast  quantities 
of  insects  on  the  snow,  which  covered  a  large  frozen  lake 
some  leagues  from  Stockholm.  Preceding  and  accompany- 
ing both  these  falls  of  insects  were  violent  storms  that  had 
torn  up  trees  by  the  roots,  and  carried  away  to  a  great  dis- 
tance the  surrounding  earth,  and  at  the  same  time  the  insects 
which  had  taken  up  their  winter  quarters  in  it.'^  These  in- 
sects were  chiefly  Brachyptera  h.,  Aphodii,  Spiders,  cater- 
pillars, and  particularly  the  larvse  of  the  Telephorus  fus- 
cus:^     Another  shower  of  insects  is  recorded  to  have  fallen 

1  Hone's  Ev.  Bay  Bk.,  i.  294. 

2  Gent.  Mag.,  iii.' 492.  3  /j/j.^  jxiv.  293. 
*  K.  and  S.  Introd.,  ii.  415. 



in  Hungary,  November  20,  16^2;^  another,  also,  in  the 
newspapers  of  July  2d,  1810,  to  have  fallen  in  France  the 
January  preceding,  accompanied  by  a  shower  of  red  snow.^ 

In  the  Muses  Threnodie,  p.  213,  we  read  that  "many  are 
the  instances,  even  to  this  day,  of  charms  practised  among 
the  vulgar,  especially  among  the  Highlands,  attended  with 
forms  of  prayer.  In  the  Miscellaneous  MS.,  written  by 
Baillie  Dundee,  among  several  medicinal  receipts  I  find  an 
exorcism  against  all  kinds  of  worms  in  the  body,  in  the  name 
of  the  Father,  Son,  and  Holy  Ghost,  to  be  repeated  three 
mornings,  as  a  certain  remedy."^ 

The  Guahibo,  Humboldt  says,  that  ''eats  everything  that 
exists  above,  and  everything  under  ground,"  eats  insects, 
and  particularly  scolopendras  and  worms.^  The  same  trav- 
eler also  says  he  has  seen  the  Indian  children  drag  out  of 
the  earth  centipedes  eighteen  inches  long,  and  more  than 
half  an  inch  broad,  and  devour  them.^ 

"  The  seventeene  of  March,  1586,"  says  John  Stow  in  his 
Annales  of  England,  "a  strange  thing  happened,  the  like 
whereof  before  hath  not  beene  heard  of  in  our  time.  Master 
Dorington,  of  Spaldwicke,  in  the  countie  of  Huntington, 
esquier,  one  of  his  maiesties  gentlemen  Pensioners,  had  a 
horse  which  died  sodainly,  and,  being  ripped  to  see  the  cause 
of  his  death,  there  was  found  in  the  hole  of  the  hart  of  the 
same  horse  a  strange  worme,  which  lay  on  a  round  heape  in 
a  kail  or  skin  of  the  likeness  of  a  toade,  which,  being  taken 
out  and  spread  abroad,  was  in  forme  and  fashion  not  casie  to 
be  described,  the  length  of  which  worme  divided  into  many 
greines  to  the  number  of  fiftie  (spread  ft'om  the  bodie  like 
the  branches  of  a  tree),  was  from  the  snowte  to  the  ende  of 
the  longest  greine,  seventeene  inches,  having  four  issues  in 
the  greines,  from  the  which  dropped  foorth  a  red  water ;  the 
body  in  bignes  round  about  was  three  inches  and  a  halfe, 
the  colour  whereof  was  very  like  a  makerel.  This  monstrous 
worme,  found  in  manner  aforesaid,  crauling  to  have  got 
away,  was  stabbed  in  with  a  dagger  and  died,  which,  after 
being  dried,  was  shewed  to  many  honorable  persons  of  the 

1  Ephem.  Nat.  Curios.,  3  673.  80. 

2  K.  and  S.  Introd.,  ii.  415,  note. 

3  Brand's  Pop.  Antiq.,  iii.  273. 

*  Pers.  Nar.,  iv.  571.  5  Ibid.,  ii.  205. 

^  Ann.  of  Eng.,  p.  1219. 



Dr.  Sparrman,  in  his  journey  to  Paarl,  an  inland  town 
at  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope,  having  filled  his  insect-box  with 
fine  specimens,  was  obliged  to  put  a  "  whole  regiment  of 
Hies  and  other  insects  "  round  the  brim  of  his  hat.  Having 
entered  the  house  of  a  rich  old  widow  troubled  with  the  gout, 
for  food,  he  was  warned  by  his  servant  that  if  she  should 
happen  to  see  the  insects  he  would  certainly  be  turned  out 
of  doors  for  a  conjuror  (hexmeester).  Accordingly  he  was 
very  careful  to  keep  his  hat  always  turned  away  from  her, 
but  all  would  not  do — the  old  lady  discovered  the  "little 
beasts,"  and  to  her  greater  astonishment  that  they  were  run 
through  their  bodies  with  pins.  An  immediate  explanation 
was  demanded  ;  and  had  the  doctor  not  been  just  then  la- 
menting with  the  widow  for  her  deceased  husband,  and  giv- 
ing dissertations  on  the  dropsy  and  cough  that  carried  off 
the  poor  man,  the  explanation  he  gave  would  hardly  have 
been  sufficient  to  quell  the  rage  of  this  superstitious  boor  at 
the  thought  of  there  being  a  sorcerer  in  her  house. ^ 

In  several  parts  of  Europe  quite  a  trade  is  carried  on 
in  the  way  of  buying  and  selling  rare  insects,  chiefly  the 
rare  Alpine  butterflies  and  moths.  The  instant  the  ento- 
mologist steps  from  his  cairiage,  in  the  celebrated  valley  of 
Chamouni,  with  net  in  hand,  whence  he  is  known  to  be  a 
papillionist,  he  is  surrounded  by  half  a  dozen  Savoyard 
boys,  from  the  age  of  fifteen  down  to  eight,  each  v/ith  a 
large  collecting-box  full  of  insects  in  his  hands  for  sale,  and 
with  the  scientist  bargains  for  the  insects  that  are  found  only 
on  the  mountains,  and  which  these  hardy  chaps  alone  can 
obtain.  There  are  again  insect  dealers  on  a  larger  scale, 
who  live  there,  and  have  many  of  these  boys  in  their  employ; 
cue  of  which  wholesale  merchants,  Michel  Bossonney,  at 
Martigni  in  the  Yallais,  in  the  year  1829,  sold  7000  insects, 
mostly  of  rare  and  beautiful  species.  Another  dealer,  on  a 
perhaps  still  larger  scale,  is  M.  Provost  Duval,  of  Geneva, 
a  highly  respectable  entomologist.  In  1830,  he  could  sup- 
ply upwards  of  600  species  of  Lepidoptera,  and  as  many 
Coleoptera,  of  the  Swiss  Alps,  the  south  of  France,  and 
Germany,  at  prices  varymg  from  one  to  fifteen  francs  each, 
according  to  their  rarity. 

The  advantage  of  this  new  traffic,  both  to  the  individuals 
engaged  in  it  and  to  science,  is  great.  Now  the  Sphinx 

»  Voy.  to  C.  of  Good  Hope,  i.  45. 


(Deilephila)  hippophaes,  formerly  sold  at  sixty